This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice. The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article. It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem.
What is Wounding?
In Queensland, the charge of Wounding is often preferred by Police and Law Enforcement in circumstances where someone has been cut or stabbed by a defendant. A ‘wound’ can include any breakage or cut to skin that is more than a standard assault. For a wounding to occur, the true skin must be broken and penetrated, not merely the cuticle or outer skin.
That is to say, that a wound is not just a scratch to the outer skin, the skin must be broken and there must be bleeding. An example of wounding would be cutting someone with a knife. The wounding must be unlawful. An act us unlawful unless it is authorised, justified or excused by law. It is a circumstance of aggravation if the wounding occurred in a public place whilst the defendant was adversely affected by drugs or alcohol. Provocation is not a defence to wounding.
Section 323 of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899 states;
(1) A person who unlawfully wounds anyone else commits a misdemeanour.
Elements of the Offence:-
It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant has committed the offence. Every charge has a number of elements that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. For the charge of Wounding the Prosecution must prove;
1. Defendant – The Prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender;
3. The Complainant;
3. That the wounding was Unlawful.
Maximum Penalty for Wounding:-
The maximum penalty for this offence is seven years imprisonment.
In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Wounding, then the court could impose one of the following penalties:
- Jail (suspended, parole or actual time);
- Intensive Corrections Order;
- Community Service Order;
The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.
There are a number of defences available to charges at law. Not every defence is available to every charge. You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge. Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are;
- Mistake of Fact;
- Public Safety;
- Self Defence or defence of another person;
Which Court will your matter be heard in?
The charge of Wounding will commence in the Magistrates Court but it is too serious to be finally dealt with by a Magistrate. A full brief of evidence will have to be obtained and a committal hearing will have to be conducted. The matter will then proceed to the District Court. If you enter a plea of guilty then the charge will be determined by a Judge. If you enter a plea of Not Guilty then the trial will be before a Judge and Jury. If you are found guilty then you will be sentenced by the Judge.
What should I do if the police want to speak to me about a Wounding allegation or if I am charged with Wounding?
You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer.
Call an Expert
If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court. Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.