Criminal Law Criminal Offences Recklessly Causing Grievous Bodily Harm Or Wounding

Recklessly Causing Grievous Bodily Harm or Wounding

Recklessly Causing Grievous Bodily Harm or Wounding- Section 35 Crimes Act 1900

Grievous Bodily Harm

The definition of “grievous bodily harm” is as follows:

  • Any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person.
  • The destruction of a foetus.
  • Any grievous bodily disease.


The definition of “wounding” is as follows:

  • The breaking of the skin.
Maximum Penalties
Crimes Act (NSW) Offence Maximum Penalty
Section 35 (1)
Recklessly causing grievous bodily harm in company
14 years, with standard non-parole period of 5 years
Section 35 (2)
Recklessly causing grievous bodily harm
10 years, with standard non-parole period of 4 years
Section 35 (3)
Reckless wound in company
10 years, with standard non-parole period of 4 years
Section 35 (4)
Reckless wound
7 years, with standard non-parole period of 3 years
Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

For the to be established, the prosecution must prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you caused a wound, or inflicted grievous bodily harm upon another person.

A wound is generally defined as an injury that results when both lawyers if the skin are broken; for example, a deep cut or a split lip

Grievous bodily harm is defined as ‘really serious harm’ – including permanent and serious disfigurement. Examples include broken bones, damage to internal organs, or the killing of a foetus.

  • That the wound or grievous bodily harm was caused by your recklessness

The offence of reckless wounding or grievous bodily harm applies in situations where you did not intend to wound another person or inflict grievous bodily harm, but where this type of physical injury came about as a result of your recklessness.

Recklessness refers to situations where you knew, or should have known that your actions could cause wounding or grievous bodily harm, but you continued to act anyway – for example, where you were waving a knife around carelessly and it cut someone, or where you punch someone and break a bone.

Defences to this charge

Self-defence– where you used unlawful violence to protect yourself, your property or another person. 

Duress- Where you were threatened or coerced into using the unlawful violence

Necessity- Where you used unlawful violence to prevent serious injury or danger.

Pleading Guilty

It is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer who will be able to advise you of your options.

If you decide or have been advised to plead guilty to grievous bodily harm or wounding after receiving legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer, it is crucial that your case is sufficiently prepared to maximise your chances at obtaining a lenient sentence. 

Utilitarian Value or 25% discount on punishment

The discount for the utilitarian value of the plea of guilty will be determined largely by the timing of your plea entered. That means, the earlier you enter a plea of guilty, the greater discount you receive on your punishment and also the type of sentence you receive.

The utilitarian value of a delayed plea is less and consequently the discount is reduced.

Types of Penalties

Types of penalties the Judge can impose on you include any one of the following:

Our expert defence team at Criminal Lawyers Sydney may be able to negotiate the police ‘facts’ to reduce the seriousness of the offence.

Our team will guide you on obtaining materials which can be handed-up to the court during your sentencing – including a letter of apology, character references and any documents from counsellors or health care professionals you have consulted.

These materials, together with persuasive verbal submissions by your lawyer in the courtroom, can help to ensure you receive the most lenient penalty that is possible in the circumstances.

If you have been charged with AVO or contravene AVO, call Criminal Lawyers Sydney anytime on (02) 91528619 to arrange a free first conference with one of our experienced AVO lawyers who will review the allegations and advise you of your options and the best way forward.