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What Is Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)? Everything You Need To Know.

Last updated Nov 28 2023 | Criminal Law

by Joseph Navas

by Joseph Navas

Director & Solicitor

In this article

What is the difference between GBH and ABH?

Both grievous bodily harm (GBH) and actual bodily harm (ABH) are criminal offences, but what is the difference?

ABH

ABH are injuries that are serious but don’t cause permanent injuries to the victim. Some common examples of ABH injuries include:

  • Extensive or multiple bruising 
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Cuts and slashes that are less severe than wounding 
  • Minor bone fractures

GBH

On the other hand, GBH is a highly serious injury that can have a permanent impact on the victim, such as:

  • Broken bones 
  • Serious disfigurement

Section 18 offence.

A Section 18 offence is when the offender intentionally injured the victim. However, it’s challenging to prove that the offender’s actions were intentional.

Example:

The offender picked up a baseball bat and hit the victim around the head, which fractured the victim’s skull. In this instance, this action will likely be charged as a Section 18 offence as it’s sufficient to believe that there was intent to cause this injury.

Remember...

The maximum sentence for a Section 18 offence is life imprisonment. The judge will decide the sentence by considering the seriousness of the injury and the offender’s responsibility.

Section 20 offence.

Unlike a Section 18 offence, a Section 20 offence is when the offender unintentionally injured the victim. Someone can commit a section 20 offence recklessly or willfully (deliberate action which caused an unintentional outcome). Two examples of a Section 20 offence include:

Example 1:

The offender pushed someone during an argument, who then fell down the stairs and broke their leg. This example will most likely be charged as a Section 20 as the push was deliberate, but it’s difficult to prove that the injury was the intended outcome of the action.

Example 2:

The offender was distracted on their phone while driving and, as a result, drifted onto the pavement and hit a civilian, causing them to have multiple broken bones. The driver will most likely face a Section 20 charge in this instance, as it’s difficult to prove the intent behind the injury. 

Remember...

You’ll need to record any changes made to a boundary if successfully disputed. This is done by submitting the new details to the Land Registry. The changes are legally binding under the Land Registration Act 2002 as a Boundary Agreement.

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Like it, share it.

If you found the contents of this blog useful, please feel free to share it on social media. Sharing our article helps others in need find the same information.