In English criminal law, grievous bodily harm (GBH) is a serious offence that is defined under section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. It is considered as one of the most serious violent offences and can result in severe punishment, including life imprisonment.
GBH is defined as the intentional infliction of really serious harm on another person. The harm can be either physical or psychological, but it must be serious enough to cause long-term harm or permanent disability. Examples of GBH may include causing a victim to suffer a fractured skull or a severe brain injury, which may lead to permanent disability.
Under English criminal law, there are two types of GBH: wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Wounding with intent involves the use of a weapon, such as a knife, to inflict a wound or injury on another person with the intention of causing GBH. Causing grievous bodily harm with intent involves intentionally causing serious bodily harm to another person, without necessarily using a weapon.
The punishment for GBH in English criminal law depends on the specific circumstances of the case, including the severity of the harm caused and the intention of the perpetrator. If convicted, the offender can face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
You can learn more about this topic and relevant case law with our Criminal Law notes.