Reckless Grievous Bodily Harm or Wounding

Lawyers NSW

What is Grievous Bodily Harm

Grievous Bodily Harm is defined in the Crimes Act 1900 as:

  1. Destruction of the foetus of pregnant woman (not including during the course of a medical procedure)

  2. Any permanent or serious disfiguring

  3. Any infliction of a grievous bodily disease


Some common examples of injuries that the Courts have found to constitute GBH include:

  • Severe cuts requiring large number of stitches, surgery and/or nerve reconstructions

  • Fractures requiring steel plates and screws and continuing treatment

  • Skull fractures and permanent brain damage

What is not Grievous Bodily Harm

Some common examples of injuries that the Courts have found not to constitute GBH include:

  • Cuts and lacerations that do not require large number of stitches

  • Fractures that only require minor surgery with short recovery time

  • Fractures that can be maintained and healed without permanent damage


What is an Assault Recklessly Causing Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)

Grievous Bodily Harm can come from an altercation where as a result of the physical force applied, a very serious injury has been caused to the other person. Although not necessary, such an incident usually involves the use of a weapon to inflict the injury.


The Courts will consider whether the person who committed the assault knew or should have had the knowledge that their own actions could have had the potential of causing grievous bodily harm. Even though the person did not intend to cause the harm, recklessness nevertheless arises as the person still had foresight that it could happen.

Reckless GBH & The Law

Under Section 35 of the Crimes Act 1900, it is a criminal offence to assault another person, the result of which causes grievous bodily harm to that person.

This is a charge that is strongly prosecuted, and treated very seriously by the Courts.

Examples of Reckless GBH


  • A punch or kick that ultimately causes GBH


What the Prosecution need to Prove (Beyond a Reasonable Doubt):

  • That that accused recklessly wounded or inflicted grievous bodily harm upon another person, and the injuries sustained by that person are considered to be “very serious”; and

  • The act of the Assault was done recklessly, which means that the accused understood that the type of harm inflicted was a possibility of occurring


It is important to note that there is no intent required to prove this charge, only that the accused was aware of the possibility of inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm, and ignored that possibility by continuing with the same action.

Going to Court – “What am I looking at?”

The Courts and Judicial System view this offence as a very serious offence, one that can carry a maximum penalty of 2 years in the Local Court and 10 years imprisonment in the District Court, and up to 14 years imprisonment if the offence was committed while in the company of another.


If you have been charged with Reckless Assault causing grievous bodily harm, it can be considered as a lesser degree of severity than that act being intentional, but more serious than a Common Assault or Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm.


Reckless GBH is a ‘Table 1’ offence which allows this charge to be dealt with in the Local Court, where the maximum penalty is significantly less than that in the District Court.


Any penalty imposed depends on a range of factors including:

  1. The severity of the injuries sustained

  2. The level of violence used,

  3. Any aggravating features such as the use of a weapon, whether that offence was committed in the victim’s place of residence, and if there were any minors present at the time of the incident


Call our office today to find out and discuss the range of defences available. Lawyer Call Criminal Defence Team will also carefully assess with you possible avenues to assist your case when proceeding with a plea of Guilty, helping you to reduce the severity of the penalty. We make strong and passionate submissions before the Magistrate or Judge addressing factors relevant to you, who you are in your everyday life, what your criminal history is like, any psychiatric illnesses and personal circumstances.


With our powerful speakers in Court, we have saved many clients from full time custody to alternatives such as community service orders or suspended sentences.


Lawyer Call – Help is just a click away..


Being charged with GBH can be stressful due to the seriousness of the charge, and the implications this could have on your life, family and future aspirations. At Lawyer Call, we seek to understand the exact details of the incident first and foremost. Our Senior Defence Lawyers have shown time and time again their drive to beat these charges, and help you return to normal life.


Working together with some of the nation’s best Criminal Defence Barristers and Forensic Psychiatrists, our professional legal services are available during what can only be described as a difficult period in one's life. 

At Lawyer Call we take pride in our Online Legal Conferencing Service, together with our dedicated correspondence and face to face consultations.

Call us today and together we will put up the right fight. 



“I cannot begin to thank Paul for his tireless efforts with my case. Would recommend them anybody with a criminal matter their clear communication and expert advice got me my best possible outcome”


—  Casey, Nurse


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