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Criminal Law Blog VIC

Have you been charged with Intentionally Causing Serious Injury

It is a serious offence in Victoria to intentionally cause another person serious injury. This offence is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

The injury sustained by the victim from the felonious act affects the penalty that will ultimately be imposed by the court. Thus, the more serious the injury caused to the victim the higher will be the penalty that would most likely be imposed by the court on the offender.

What does the law say?

Section 16 of the Crimes Act 1958 provides that a person who, without lawful excuse, intentionally causes serious injury to another person is guilty of an indictable offence.

Meaning of “serious injury”

The meaning of “serious injury” is provided in Section 15 of the Crimes Act 1958 which provides that an injury is serious if it endangers life or is substantial and protracted. Serious injury also means destruction, other than in the course of a medical procedure, of the foetus of a pregnant woman, whether or not the woman suffers any other harm.

An example of causing serious injury is beating up a person to the point of causing brain injury, paralysis or broken bones.

Police and prosecution evidence

The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt all the following elements:

  • the victim suffered a serious injury;
  • the offender caused serious injury to the victim;
  • the serious injury was caused intentionally;
  • absence of justification or excuse on the part of the offender in causing the serious injury

Meaning of “intentionally”

In proving that the offender “intentionally” caused serious injury to the victim, the prosecution must show to the court that the offender had a specific and deliberate intent to cause the serious injury. It is not sufficient to merely prove to the court that the offender had an intention to cause serious injury. The intention to cause serious injury may be deduced from the physical actions of the offender and that any ordinary person would realize that such physical act would cause serious injury to another person.

Possible defences

A possible defence against this charge is self-defence, that the offender was only defending himself or herself from the unlawful provocation of the victim.

Another possible defence is that there was no intention on the part of the offender to cause so serious an injury on the victim. In this case, it is important for the offender to prove that he/she did not realize at that time that serious physical harm will be caused to the victim.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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