Grievous bodily harm
Overview
Grievous bodily harm is a term of art used in English
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

 criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 which has become synonymous with the offences that are created by sections 18 and 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861
Offences Against The Person Act 1861
The Offences against the Person Act 1861 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It consolidated provisions related to offences against the person from a number of earlier statutes into a single Act...

.

The distinction between these two sections is the requirement of specific intent for section 18.

The offence under section 18 is variously referred to as "wounding with intent" or "causing grievous bodily harm with intent".
Encyclopedia
Grievous bodily harm is a term of art used in English
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

 criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 which has become synonymous with the offences that are created by sections 18 and 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861
Offences Against The Person Act 1861
The Offences against the Person Act 1861 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It consolidated provisions related to offences against the person from a number of earlier statutes into a single Act...

.

The distinction between these two sections is the requirement of specific intent for section 18.

The offence under section 18 is variously referred to as "wounding with intent" or "causing grievous bodily harm with intent". The words "with intent" refer to the specific intent required for this offence.

The offence under section 20 is variously referred to as "unlawful wounding", "malicious wounding" or "inflicting grievous bodily harm".

Section 18

This section now reads:
The words from "or shoot" to "some other", except the words "with intent to do some" were repealed by section 10(2) of, and Part III of Schedule 3 to, the Criminal Law Act 1967
Criminal Law Act 1967
The Criminal Law Act 1967 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. However, with some minor exceptions, it generally applies to only England and Wales. It made some major changes to English criminal law...

.

The words omitted in the penultimate place were repealed by the Statute Law Revision (No 2) Act 1893.

The words omitted at the end were repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1892 and the Statute Law Revision (No 2) Act 1893.

This section replaces section 4 of the Offences against the Person Act 1837
Offences Against the Person Act 1837
The Offences against the Person Act 1837 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

, which in turn replaced section 12 of the Offences against the Person Act 1828
Offences Against the Person Act 1828
The Offences against the Person Act 1828 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It consolidated provisions related to offences against the person from a number of earlier statutes into a single Act...

, which in turn replaced section 1 of Lord Ellenborough's Act (1803).

Felony

See the Criminal Law Act 1967
Criminal Law Act 1967
The Criminal Law Act 1967 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. However, with some minor exceptions, it generally applies to only England and Wales. It made some major changes to English criminal law...

 and the Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967.

Penal Servitude

See the Criminal Justice Act 1948
Criminal Justice Act 1948
The Criminal Justice Act 1948 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It has been described as "one of the most important measures relating to the reform of the criminal law and its administration." It abolished penal servitude, hard labour and prison divisions for England and Wales...

 and the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1953.

Section 20

In England and Wales, section 20 now reads:
The words omitted were repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1892.

Misdemeanor

See the Criminal Law Act 1967
Criminal Law Act 1967
The Criminal Law Act 1967 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. However, with some minor exceptions, it generally applies to only England and Wales. It made some major changes to English criminal law...

.

Liable to be kept in penal servitude

See the Penal Servitude Act 1891 and the Criminal Justice Act 1948
Criminal Justice Act 1948
The Criminal Justice Act 1948 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It has been described as "one of the most important measures relating to the reform of the criminal law and its administration." It abolished penal servitude, hard labour and prison divisions for England and Wales...

.

The offences

None of the words used in these sections are defined elsewhere in the Act, but they have been defined by case law.

Wound

For this purpose, a wound is an injury
Injury
-By cause:*Traumatic injury, a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident*Other injuries from external physical causes, such as radiation injury, burn injury or frostbite*Injury from infection...

 that breaks the continuity of the skin
Skin
-Dermis:The dermis is the layer of skin beneath the epidermis that consists of connective tissue and cushions the body from stress and strain. The dermis is tightly connected to the epidermis by a basement membrane. It also harbors many Mechanoreceptors that provide the sense of touch and heat...

. There must be a division of the whole skin and not merely a division of the cuticle
Cuticle
A cuticle , or cuticula, is a term used for any of a variety of tough but flexible, non-mineral outer coverings of an organism, or parts of an organism, that provide protection. Various types of "cuticles" are non-homologous; differing in their origin, structure, function, and chemical composition...

 or upper layer.

A single drop of blood is sufficient, but it must fall outside the body: see JCC (a minor) v. Eisenhower (1984) 78 Cr. App. R. 48. In this case, a pellet gun was fired at the victim. The bullet ruptured blood vessels above his eye, causing his eye to fill with fluid. Lord Justice Robert Goff said the rupturing of blood vessels is an internal wound, only the breaking of whole skin would warrant a wounding charge.

A bruise or internal rupturing of blood vessels is not a wound, and neither is a broken bone.

Wounding does not imply the use of a weapon; a kick may be wounding.

Grievous bodily harm

Grievous bodily harm means "really serious bodily harm": DPP v Smith [1961] AC 290, HL; R v. Cunningham [1982] AC 566, HL; R v. Brown (A.) [1994] 1 AC 212, HL; R v. Brown and Stratton [1998] Crim LR 485, CA.

However, R v Saunders [1985] Crim LR 230, [1985] LS Gaz R 1005, allows "serious injury" as a sufficient direction to the jury
Jury
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the guilt, or lack thereof, in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be guilty,...

. It is for the judge to decide whether the word "really" needs to be used in his direction to the jury: R v. Janjua and Choudhury [1999] 1 Cr.App.R. 91, The Times, 8 May 1998, CA (in this case, as a knife with a blade at least 5½ inches long had been used, it was not possible that something less than really serious harm was intended).

Inflict and cause

Concerning the meaning of inflict: Shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre would "inflict" the injuries in the resulting panic: R v Martin (1881) 8 QBD 54.

In R v Mandair, Lord Mackay of Clashfern LC. said, with the agreement of the majority of the House of Lords, "In my opinion . . . the word 'cause' is wider or at least not narrower than the word 'inflict'".

In R v Burstow, R v Ireland, it was held that an offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm under section 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 can be committed where no physical violence is applied directly or indirectly to the body of the victim.

Lord Hope of Craighead said "the word "inflict" implies that the consequence of the act is something which the victim is likely to find unpleasant or harmful." He said that, in the context of a criminal act, the words "cause" and "inflict" may be taken to be interchangeable.

Lord Steyn described the actions of Burstow as follows: "During an eight month period in 1995 covered by the indictment he continued his campaign of harassment. He made some silent telephone calls to her. He also made abusive calls to her. He distributed offensive cards in the street where she lived. He was frequently, and unnecessarily, at her home and place of work. He surreptitiously took photographs of the victim and her family. He sent her a note which was intended to be menacing, and was so understood."

Neither offence requires that a common assault
Common assault
Common assault was an offence under the common law of England, and has been held now to be a statutory offence in England and Wales. It is committed by a person who causes another person to apprehend the immediate use of unlawful violence by the defendant. It was thought to include battery...

 be committed.

1983 to 1997

In R v Wilson, R v Jenkins, Lord Roskill said: "In our opinion, grievous bodily harm may be inflicted … either where the accused has directly and violently "inflicted" it by assaulting the victim, or where the accused has "inflicted" it by doing something, intentionally, which, although it is not itself a direct application of force to the body of the victim, does directly result in force being applied violently to the body of the victim, so that he suffers grievous bodily harm."

Before 1983

In R v Clarence, it appeared that at a time when the prisoner knew, but his wife did not know, that he was suffering from gonorhoea, he had "connection" with her; that the result was that the disease was communicated to her, and that had she been aware of the prisoner's condition she would not have submitted to the intercourse.

Clarence's conviction under section 20 was quashed by the Court for Crown Cases Reserved
Court for Crown Cases Reserved
The Court for Crown Cases Reserved was an English appellate court for criminal cases established in 1848 to hear references from the trial judge. It did not allow a retrial, only judgment on a point of law. Neither did it create a right of appeal and only a few selected cases were heard every...

 by a majority of 9 to 4. Wills, A L Smith and Stephen JJ. specifically said that they thought the disease had not been inflicted within the meaning of the word "inflict" in section 20. Mathew J. said that he agreed with Stephen. Stephen said that he had been informed that Grantham J. agreed with him. Huddleston B. said that he thoroughly agreed with Stephen. Lord Coleridge CJ. said that he agreed with all or almost all of what Wills and Stephen said. Hawkins J. specifically said that he thought it had been inflicted within the meaning of the word "inflict" in section 20.

Wills J said (footnotes have been included in the body of the text, indicated by "(1)"):
Stephen J said:
A L Smith J. said "it appears to me that this offence cannot be committed unless an assault has in fact been committed, and indeed this has been so held".

Hawkins J. said that he thought that the contention that bodily harm cannot be legally said to be "inflicted" unless it has been brought about by some act amounting to an assault was untenable.

Maliciously

In R v Mowatt Lord Diplock said:
Therefore, the defendant must at least be reckless as to whether some harm, albeit not necessarily serious harm, is likely to be caused, (see R v Savage, DPP v Parmenter,) but a mere intention to frighten is not enough (see R v Sullivan).

In R v Sullivan [1981] Crim LR 46, CA
Court of Appeal of England and Wales
The Court of Appeal of England and Wales is the second most senior court in the English legal system, with only the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom above it...

, the appellant was tried on charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and inflicting grievous bodily harm. The victim said that the appellant and a companion were drunk. He said that while he was in a street that was eight feet wide and had a narrow pavement, the appellant drove a car through that street at twenty five to thirty miles an hour, mounted the pavement and injured him. The appellant denied that he was the driver of the car in a written statement to the police and said he could add nothing to that statement in an unsworn statement from the dock. However, during his closing speech, counsel for the defence suggested that all the appellant intended to do was frighten the victim and no more. The jury were directed that if there was an intention to frighten, and injury took place as a result, the appellant was guilty of an offence under section 20. The appellant was acquitted of the offence under section 18, but convicted of offences under section 20. The Court of Appeal held that an intention to frighten was not enough to constitute the necessary mens rea for section 20, and that the direction to the contrary effect was a misdirection. However, they dismissed the appellant's appeal. They said that a properly directed jury could not in the circumstances have come to any other conclusion than that the appellant must have been aware that what he was doing was likely to cause physical injury to the victim.

In practice, malice in the case of these offences means no more than foresight of the risk of bodily harm: R. v. Barnes [2005] 1 Cr App R 30.

Specific intent

Section 18 has two separate mens rea
Mens rea
Mens rea is Latin for "guilty mind". In criminal law, it is viewed as one of the necessary elements of a crime. The standard common law test of criminal liability is usually expressed in the Latin phrase, actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, which means "the act does not make a person guilty...

requirements and is therefore an offence of specific rather than basic intent. R v Belfon [1976] 1 WLR 741, CA
Court of Appeal of England and Wales
The Court of Appeal of England and Wales is the second most senior court in the English legal system, with only the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom above it...

, confirmed that references to mere foresight or recklessness that harm was likely to result are sufficient for the element "unlawfully and maliciously inflict/cause" for the basic intent in both sections 18 and 20 but insufficient for the specific element. The intention either to cause or to resist arrest must be proved subjectively, say, in the charge "malicious wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm".

The Crown Prosecution Service said that the following factors may indicate the specific intent: "a repeated or planned attack; deliberate selection of a weapon or adaptation of an article to cause injury, such as breaking a glass before an attack; making prior threats; and using an offensive weapon against, or kicking the victim's head".

Alternative verdicts

Sections 20 and 47 are offences of basic intent and can be an alternative charge to section 18, and/or section 47 is a lesser included offence
Lesser included offense
A lesser included offense, in criminal law, is a crime for which all of the elements necessary to impose liability are also elements found in a more serious crime....

.

Consent

Consent is only an allowed defence to either section if there is considered to be a good reason. This may include medical operations, sport, body modification
Body modification
Body modification is the deliberate altering of the human body for any non-medical reason, such as aesthetics, sexual enhancement, a rite of passage, religious reasons, to display group membership or affiliation, to create body art, shock value, or self expression...

s (even if carried out by someone who is not trained), and, occasionally, "horseplay".

R v Brown
R v Brown
R v Brown [1994] 1 AC 212 is a House of Lords judgment in which a group of men were convicted for their involvement in consensual sadomasochistic sexual acts over a 10 year period. They were convicted of "unlawful and malicious wounding" and "assault occasioning actual bodily harm" contrary to...

 (Anthony)
however ruled that consensual sadomasochism is not legal.

Mode of trial

In England and Wales, the offence under section 18 is an indictable-only offence.

In England and Wales, the offence under section 20 is triable either way
Hybrid offence
A hybrid offence, dual offence, Crown option offence, dual procedure offence, or wobbler are the special class offences in the common law jurisdictions where the case may be prosecuted either summarily or as indictment...

.

Section 18

In England and Wales, an offence under section 18 is punishable with imprisonment for life or for any shorter term.

See the Crown Prosecution Service Sentencing Manual for case law on sentencing of section 18 http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/wounding_or_inflicting_grievous_bodily_harm_with_intent/. Relevant cases are:
  • AG's Ref No 14 of 2008 (Cook)[2009] 1 Cr App R (S) 62
  • AG's Ref No 44 of 2008 (Patterson) [2009] 1 Cr App R (S) 111
  • AG's Ref No 49 of 2008 (Blake) [2009] 1 Cr App R (S) 109
  • Stanley [2008] 2 Cr App R (S) 107
  • AG's Ref 6 of 2009 (DR) [2009] 2 Cr App R (S) 108
  • AG's Ref 14 of 2009 (Morgan) [2010] 1 Cr App R (S) 17
  • AG's Ref (No 95 of 2009)(Blight)[2010] EWCA Crim 353
  • Cross [2009] 1 Cr App R (S) 34
  • Smith [2009] 1 Cr App R (S) 37
  • Bowley [2009] 1 Cr App R (S) 79
  • R v Chatburn [2010] EWCA Crim 115
  • Haystead [2010] 1 Cr App R (S) 107


In Northern Ireland, an offence under section 18 is punishable with imprisonment for life or for any shorter term.

Section 20

In England and Wales, a person guilty of an offence under section 20 is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to a fine not exceeding the prescribed sum
Prescribed sum
The prescribed sum is the maximum fine that may be imposed on summary conviction of certain offences in the United Kingdom. In England and Wales and Northern Ireland, it is now equivalent to level 5 on the standard scale, which it predates...

, or to both.

Where a person is convicted on indictment of an offence under section 20, other than an offence for which the sentence falls to be imposed under section 227 or 228 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003
Criminal Justice Act 2003
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is a wide ranging measure introduced to modernise many areas of the criminal justice system in England and Wales and, to a lesser extent, in Scotland and Northern Ireland....

, the court, if not precluded from sentencing an offender by its exercise of some other power, may impose a fine instead of or in addition to dealing with him in any other way in which the court has power to deal with him, subject however to any enactment requiring the offender to be dealt with in a particular way.

An offence under section 20 is a specified offence for the purposes of chapter 5 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003
Criminal Justice Act 2003
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is a wide ranging measure introduced to modernise many areas of the criminal justice system in England and Wales and, to a lesser extent, in Scotland and Northern Ireland....

 because it is a specified violent offence. It is not a serious offence for the purposes of that Chapter because it is not, apart from section 225, punishable in the case of a person aged 18 or over by imprisonment for life, or by imprisonment for a determinate period of ten years or more. This means that sections 227 and 228 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003
Criminal Justice Act 2003
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is a wide ranging measure introduced to modernise many areas of the criminal justice system in England and Wales and, to a lesser extent, in Scotland and Northern Ireland....

 (which relate to extended sentences) apply where a person is convicted of an offence under section 20, committed after the commencement of section 227 or 228 (as the case may be) and the court considers that there is a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm occasioned by the commission by the offender of further specified offences.

See the Crown Prosecution Service Sentencing Manual for case law on sentencing of section 20 http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/wounding_or_inflicting_grievous_bodily_harm/

The following cases are relevant to section 20:
  • R v. Robertson [1997] EWCA Crim 918 (16 April 1997), 1 Cr.App.R. (S.) 21
  • R v. Byrne [1997] EWCA Crim 1174 (13 May 1997), 1 Cr.App.R. (S.) 105
  • R v. McNellis [2000] 1 Cr.App.R. (S.) 481
  • R v. Clare [2002] 2 Cr.App.R. (S.) 97
  • R v. Foote [2005] 2 Cr.App.R. (S.) 5
  • Hall [2008] EWCA 1208
  • Olawo[2008] 2 Cr App R (S) 113
  • Owen [2009] 1 Cr App R (S) 64
  • Shannon [2009] 1 Cr App R (S) 95
  • Hurley [2009] 1 Cr App R (S) 100
  • R v Burns [2009] EWCA Crim 2150
  • Williamson [2010] 1 Cr App R (S) 16
  • Abdile [2010] 1 Cr App R (S) 18
  • Kee [2010] 1 Cr App R (S) 64


In Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, a person guilty of an offence under section 20 is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, or on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months, or to a fine not exceeding the prescribed sum, or to both.

Racially or religiously aggravated offence

In England and Wales, section 29(1)(a) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998
Crime and Disorder Act 1998
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act was published on 2 December 1997 and received Royal Assent in July 1998...

 (c.37) creates the distinct offence of racially or religiously aggravated wounding or infliction of bodily harm. This is an aggravated version of the offence under section 20.

External links

Crown Prosecution Service
Crown Prosecution Service
The Crown Prosecution Service, or CPS, is a non-ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for public prosecutions of people charged with criminal offences in England and Wales. Its role is similar to that of the longer-established Crown Office in Scotland, and the...


WikiCrimeLine
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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