4.2.1 Wounding and GBH – Introduction

Welcome to the fourth topic in this module guide – Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person! Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person encompass a range of offences where a person is caused some harm, but the harm does not result in death. There is a gradient scale of offences based on the level of harm caused to the victim and the level of intent demonstrated by the defendant. Each of these offences has their own actus reus and mens rea and are accompanied by charging guidelines as to the type of injuries they encompass. All of these elements must be considered when looking at a possible offence.

Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) and Wounding are the most serious of the non-fatal offences against the person, charged under s.18 and s.20 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861. It is the absolute maximum harm inflicted upon a person without it proving fatal.

Goals for this section:

  • To understand the actus reus and mens rea components of grievous bodily harm and wounding.
  • To appreciate the charging and sentencing guidelines for each of the offences mentioned above.

Objectives for this section:

  • To appreciate the delineation between the offence of grievous bodily harm under section 20 and section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
  • To be able to identify the type and level of harm encompassed by grievous bodily harm and wounding which can be ascertained by referring to case studies in this field.
  • To be able to grasp the variance between the Charging Standards and the binding legal definition of a wound.
  • To be able to analyse and evaluate the nuances of all the non-fatal offences, as required in an examination.

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