Man punching another Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) assault image

Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) Assault

Reckless Grievous Bodily Harm (also known as ‘GBH’)

Assault matters are categorised in the law according to the seriousness of the injury sustained by the victim.

Levels of charges of assault matters in the Criminal Law:

  • Common Assault is the lowest penalty of assault (maximum penalties range from 2-5 years imprisonment depending on the circumstances of the assault and prior history of the offender).
  • Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (‘AOABH’ or ABH’) is the next level of assault.
  • Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH’) and reckless wounding come after these forms of assault – and usually involve the breaking of skin and even bone fractures to breaks.

In such matters the 2 main issues become very important:

  1. The injury
  2. The intention of the offender

.Case example of Grievous Bodily Harm referred to as being “reckless” given the intention of the offender.


  • The accused is currently unemployed.
  • The accused has an extensive criminal history with violence, property and drug offences.
  • The accused has no ‘real’ fixed place of abode.
  • The accused has been charged with numerous offences.
  • The accused has failed to appear on many occasions for these offences where warrants have been issued for his arrest.



The victim had his rear shed /garage broken into by unknown persons. Stolen items included, spare key to his a BMW , a spare key to a motorbike, a laptop, flat screen TV and an assortment of watches and tools. Some of the watches belonged to his room mate.

On Thursday 9th November 2018 the victim was repairing a vehicle in the backyard of his friends home for his friend at his friends home.
The accused and his other ‘mates’ attended the home where the victim was fixing the vehicle.

About 9:30am the accused told the victim he was going out and would return after awhile. The accused then took the keys to the BMW and left the scene.

Please note, police can explore the issue of a theft at this point, depending on the words of the victim and if he permitted the taking of the vehicle.
The accused took the vehicle because he was of the view he was permitted to take the car, however the victim later complained to police that his car was stolen on an earlier date.
The delay of the complaint becomes important.

The accused took the vehicle because he was of the view he was permitted to take the car.
While the accused was out, the victim entered the home and went through a jewellery box.
Shortly thereafter, he located the stolen watches, one which is believed to belong to his room mate, along with other personal property which he believed was stolen from his garage month prior.

The accused and the two males returned home to find him searching through property and a confrontation followed with the victim about possessing his personal property.
The accused ordered the victim to empty his pockets, to which he complied.
Amongst the property was the watches along with own personal keys, including his house and the original key to his BMW. This gave rise to a altercation between the accused and the victim.


Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) Assault

Case scenario:

NOTE: In NSW, people are charged with the Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) offence if they assault someone with the intent to cause (and do cause) a serious injury.
(The charge of Intent to Cause Grievous Bodily Harm carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment)

The accused immediately began to viciously assault the victim, punching him repeatedly to the head and face with his fists  and his left eye began to bleed profusely, which prompted the accused to cease the assault.
The accused gave instructions to the two males to clean up the blood, take the shirt (which was torn) and then clean the scene with Domestos.
Approximately 30 minutes later, the victim was allowed to leave.
He walked home (across the road) and tendered to his injuries.
The following day, being Friday 10th October 2014, the victim has noticed that his vehicle, a silver BMW had been stolen. (Suspected to be stolen by the accused)

About 10pm that night, the accused knocked on the front door to inform him that his car is back and out the front of his premises and handed him the keys.
The victim inspected his vehicle the following morning to find only his drivers licence and a ‘few’ assorted cards. The inside of the vehicle was ‘trashed’ with the stereo and speakers being removed and the front nearside of the vehicle badly damaged. (Approx $2500 in damage)

The victim attended the Hospital where CT scans revealed he had in excess of eight fractures to his face and jaw.
The victim also had considerable bruising and swelling to his entire face with his left eye almost completely closed over due to the swelling.
The victim was scheduled for surgery, at which time he had four steel plates inserted into his face to repair the fractures.

The victim attended The Parks Police Station and provided a statement along with supporting documentation.
The victims vehicle has been forensically examined and police are awaiting results.

Police attended the home of the accused and the accused was informed of the allegation of grievous bodily harm assault and arrested.
The accused was cautioned, before being conveyed to the Police Station.
Whilst being conveyed the accused stated that he had assaulted the victim, naming him by name, but only because he caught him stealing property from the bedroom of his mates girlfriend house.

Upon arrival the accused was introduced to the custody manager and explained his rights, pursuant to Part 9 of the Law Enforcement Powers and Responsibilities Act ie INVESTIGATIONS AND QUESTIONING
Whilst speaking with the custody manager, the accused again made specific reference to assaulting the victim.

The accused contacted his legal representative and refused to be interviewed in relation to the matter.








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