Grievous Bodily Harm Penalties, Defences and Charges in NSW


It is reported that a 52-year-old woman, Youlette Wedgeworth has allegedly bitten of a man’s tongue while the pair were kissing.

On 28 January, a man and the 52-year-old woman were kissing when the alleged incident unfolded.

Police allege that the Detroit woman had requested the man to refrain from putting his tongue inside her mouth.

Unfortunately, she bit off his tongue when the man did exactly that while the pair were engaged in a consensual kiss.

The man was left with about 1 inch cut off from his tongue and a bleeding mouth when police subsequently arrived at the scene.

While police have found the 1-inch part of the man’s tongue located from within his bedroom, there have been no further updates on his condition after he was taken to the local hospital.

The woman is due to appear in court on 19 February.

The prosecutors from Macomb County’s office have said, “I believe this is the first case of this nature in my 27-years in the prosecutor’s office”.

Grievous Bodily Harm Penalties, Defences and Charges in NSW

The offence of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm (GBH) or wounding is addressed seriously by courts in NSW.

There are various kinds of this assault, each carrying a different maximum penalties and include the following:

  • Grievous bodily harm or wounding with intent under section 33 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), carrying a maximum penalty of 25-years jail. This offence also carries a 7-year standard non-parole period, representing a 7-years minimum period of full-time custody before eligibility for release on parole if the case falls in the mid-range of objective seriousness for offences of this kind.

The standard non-parole period is not imposed as a compulsory rule by courts. It’s meant to be used to guide the sentencing Judge in reaching an appropriate sentence for the crime.

  • Reckless grievous bodily harm under section 35(2) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), carrying a maximum penalty of 10-years prison. This offence also carries a 4-years standard non-parole period.
  • Reckless grievous bodily harm in company under section 35(1), carrying a maximum penalty of 14-years prison, and a 5-years standard non-parole period.
  • Reckless wounding under section 35(4), carrying a maximum penalty of 7-years imprisonment, and a 3-years standard non-parole period.
  • Reckless wounding in company under section 35(3), carrying a maximum penalty of 10-years prison, and a 4-years standard non-parole period.

To be guilty of assault with intent to cause GBH, the police must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the alleged offender occasioned grievous bodily harm or wounding with the intention of causing this kind of harm.

Grievous bodily harm is injury that is, permanent or serious disfiguring or grievous bodily disease or destruction of a foetus. It also includes any injury that is considered really serious by courts. Examples include broken bones.

Wounding is injury that penetrates an interior layer of the skin.

To be guilty of reckless wounding or grievous bodily harm, the police must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the alleged offender caused either grievous bodily harm or wounding and either knew or was aware of the possibility of causing actual bodily harm.

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm is also a separate charge, and is injury that doesn’t need to necessarily be permanent, but one that’s more than merely transient or trifling. Examples include a bruise or abrasion.

Some defences to these charges include mental illness defence, self-defence, duress or necessity or if causation is an issue in the sense that there was something intervening that caused the alleged injury.

Have a question? Call us 24/7 to arrange a free consult with our leading criminal lawyers, with offices in Sydney CBD, and 7 other convenient locations across NSW.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

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