GBH is not taken lightly in the eyes of the law. Therefore, the maximum charge for a GBH crime can be life imprisonment. The charge you face depends on whether your case comes under a Section 18 offence or a Section 20 offence. But, what is the difference between a Section 18 offence and a Section 20 offence?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
The maximum penalty for a Section 20 offence is five years imprisonment. However, suppose it’s your first offence, or the injuries aren’t particularly severe. In that case, it’s unlikely you would receive a prison sentence. In this instance, you will likely receive fines and/or community service.