What is Grievous Bodily Harm?

 

In this podcast, Criminal Lawyer, Daniel Hannay discusses what is grievous body harm and what are the penalties that apply if found guilty of such an offence.

TRANSCRIPT

Dan

If you’ve been charged with Grievous Bodily Harm, sometimes referred to as GBH. It’s likely you have plenty of questions. To answer them, I’m with Daniel Hannay of Hannay Lawyers. Daniel, what is GBH?

Daniel

Grievous Bodily Harm is a charge defined as really an offence which without medical intervention could cause permanent disfigurement or death.

Dan

And there’s various other charges associated with GBH, isn’t there? What are some of those?

Daniel

So apart from the obvious manslaughter or murder, grievous bodily harm falls is one of the most serious of the assault offences in the criminal code below grievous bodily harm. We have common assault. We then have serious assaults. So that could be against a public official or a member of the police force or government implemented really to stop violence against those persons undertaking in their line of work. Above that, we have assault occasioning bodily harm and then we’ve got grievous bodily harm.

Dan

We often hear in the context of GBH, aggravated circumstances, what’s all that about?

Daniel

Grievous bodily harm can be aggravated. That’s what’s referred to as a malicious act. So a malicious act causing grievous bodily harm is where someone undertakes an act upon someone. And the intention was to cause them grievous bodily harm. There’s also aggravating circumstances in situations whereby a person might be a member of a vicious or lawless outlaw motorcycle gang or something like that. There is also, which I might add, the charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle now that can be charged, whereby someone who undertakes driving a motor vehicle recklessly and dangerously causes a passenger or a member of the public grievous bodily harm.

That is a charge again under the criminal code. That can be aggravated in circumstances, for example, whereby the person was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of committing the offence.

Dan

And Daniel, if that is the case that somebody has been found guilty of GBH, does that attract jail time?

Daniel

There are very limited circumstances whereby a person charged with grievous bodily harm would not face a term of imprisonment. So it’s extremely important if you are charged with an offence of grievous bodily harm that you see a solicitor. The maximum penalty for grievous bodily harm without any allegation of aggravation is 14 years imprisonment, and it must be dealt with on indictment before the district court. So it’s important if you are charged with grievous bodily harm, to go and see a solicitor right away.

Dan

Particularly, I suppose, if there’s a potential defence to the charge as well?

Daniel

That’s right. There are some defences open to persons charged with grievous bodily harm. They are limited and it’s important to get that advice.

Dan

Daniel, Hannay Lawyers are a leading Brisbane criminal law firm with offices in both Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Do you offer a free initial consultation?

Daniel

We do. As always, we offer a free consultation to anyone charged with any criminal offences.