Grievous Bodily Harm
What the law says
Section 320 of the Criminal Code Queensland states:
Any person who unlawfully does grievous bodily harm to another is guilty of a crime.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
1. The accused did grievous bodily harm to the complainant; and
2. That the doing of the grievous bodily harm was unlawful.
"Grievous bodily harm" is defined to mean
(a) the loss of a distinct organ of the body; or
(b) serious disfigurement; or
(c) any bodily injury of such nature that, if left untreated, would endanger or be likely to endanger life or cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health;
whether or not medical treatment is or could have been available.
The jury must disregard the availability or not of any medical treatment, and have regard only to the nature of the injury itself.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.
The Maximum penalty for the offence of Grievous Bodily Harm is 14 years imprisonment.
Which court will hear the matter
This matter is an indictable offence which is dealt with in the District Court.
Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to
- Lack of will
- Compulsion or emergency (also known as duress or necessity)
- Self defence, provided a reasonable person felt they were subjected to force which could cause death or grievous bodily harm.
Note that the defences do not always completely absolve a person from criminal responsibility and often merely reduce criminal responsibility.
Note the defence of provocation is only available to offences in the definition of which an assault is an element; it is not available merely because on the evidence the offence charged in a particular case is shown to have involved the commission of an assault.
Provocation is not a defence to grievous bodily harm.