Specialist Lawyers for Assault Charges

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Lawyers for Assault Charges – Solicitors for ABH & GBH Offences

Both actual bodily harm (ABH) and grievous bodily harm (GBH) are often referred to as “offences against the person” as they fall under the remit of the Offences Against The Person Act (OAPA) 1861. If you are under investigation or facing prosecution for ABH or GBH, it is vital that you seek legal assistance as early as possible from a solicitor specialising in violent crimes. Our Lawyers for Assault Charges may be able to help.

Being convicted of an offence against the person can have a long-lasting impact on your life. At the very least, you may be fined and/or ordered to carry out community service and will have a criminal record that can affect your chances of future employment. At the most serious end of the scale, a section 18 GBH conviction could lead to life imprisonment.

However, with the right advice and a well-thought-out defence strategy, we can mitigate how your conviction impacts your life. Here at Clifford Johnston & Co, we have a dedicated team of solicitors specialising in violent crime cases, so you can rest assured that you’re in the best hands.

We are here to help you at every stage, from your initial arrest and police questioning right through the investigation to the court case. ABH and GBH offences are often not open-and-shut cases, and there are many ways in which we can build a strong defence that will challenge the evidence against you and, in some cases, may even get the charges against you dropped altogether.

If you’ve been accused of committing an offence against the person and you’re worried about the next steps, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to share our expertise and ensure the best possible outcome for you.

What is ABH?

Under Section 47 or the OAPA 1861, ABH is defined as assault occasioning actual bodily harm in the form of a minor, short-term injury, i.e. scratches/bruises, provable detriment to the physical and/or mental health of the victim. ABH may be committed via reckless or intentional behaviour, and the intention need only be to apply unlawful force rather than intent to injure. For example, if one person pushes another and hits their head against a wall, the intent wasn’t to cause a head injury but rather to apply unlawful force.

What is GBH?

GBH is the most serious type of offence against the person as it involves injuries which are deemed to have a serious detrimental effect on the physical, psychological, or biological health of the victim. Some examples include injuries that result in permanent disability, visual disfigurement, loss of sensory function, broken bones, or injuries that cause the victim to lose a substantial amount of blood, which necessitates a transfusion. In addition, GBH also covers the intentional transmission of a biological disease such as HIV or hepatitis and psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, GBH is classified in two ways:

  • Section 18 GBH – Causing grievous bodily harm with the intent to wound – this includes a premeditated or repeated act, such as deliberately carrying a weapon, fashioning another object into a weapon to use in an attack or making threats to the victim.
  • Section 20 GBH – Causing grievous bodily harm without intent, i.e. as the result of reckless behaviour, including broken bones, disfigurement, loss of function and significant blood loss, without the inherent intent to harm.

Of the two different types of GBH, section 18 is the most serious and typically carries stricter punishment, such as longer prison sentences. If you’ve been charged with a section 18 offence but believe you were acting recklessly instead of intentionally, we can assess all the evidence and build a strong case for your defence, with the aim of reducing the charge against you, thus reducing your punishment.

Which court are GBH and ABH cases heard in?

ABH cases will typically be heard in a Magistrate’s Court or Crown Court. The type of court depends upon the seriousness of the case and whether or not there are any aggravating factors involved.

GBH cases that satisfy the criteria for a section 20 offence (wounding without intent) can be heard at the Crown Court or the Magistrate’s Court. Cases of GBH under section 18 (wounding with intent) are heard in the Crown Court only.

What defence is there against ABH and GBH charges?

When building the case for your defence, we aim to gather and assess all available evidence, such as CCTV footage, medical reports and witness statements, to look for ways to lessen your sentence or see you acquitted of the charges made against you.

Some of the most common defence angles taken in an ABH or GBH case include:

  • Self-defence – We can argue that you used reasonable force to defend yourself, your property, or another person when the victim was injured.
  • Misadventure or accident – We can use this line of defence if we can prove that there was no intent to cause injury and that it occurred accidentally.
  • Insanity – This line of defence centres around being able to prove that you were unaware that you were committing a crime due to a mental health condition.
  • Crime prevention – This is the case whereby an injury occurs when force is used to prevent a crime, for example, apprehending an attacker to prevent a robbery or sexual assault from taking place.
  • Duress – If you were forced to injure another person under threat of serious injury or death to yourself or your loved ones, we seek evidence to support this line of defence.
  • Lawful sport – This refers to a situation whereby an injury has occurred during a sports game when adhering to the rules of said game and not acting recklessly.

Our specialist violent crime solicitors are experts in ABH and GBH trials. However, to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, we need you to trust us with the truth. Without all of the relevant evidence and complete honesty on your part, we cannot represent you to the best of our ability.

What are the sentences for GBH and ABH?

The sentencing for ABH and GBH will vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case. When deciding on the sentence, the judge will consider any aggravating and/or mitigating factors, the severity of the injuries caused, and whether or not there was implicit intent to injure.

It is difficult to determine, but as a guide, an ABH conviction may see you get anything from a community order to a prison sentence of five years. Aggravating factors such as racial or religious motivation may extend the prison sentence. Mitigating factors, like acting in self-defence, may make a prison sentence less likely.

The sentencing for GBH will depend on whether it is a section 20 or section 18 offence. A section 20 offence, GBH without intent, may bring about a sentence ranging from a community order to five years imprisonment. A section 18 offence, GBH with intent, carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The average GBH sentence is between three and 16 years. Again, aggravating and mitigating factors will be considered when sentencing is handed out.

Contact our Lawyers for Assault Charges today

We are proud to offer expert criminal law services nationally which are affordable and cost-effective.

By choosing to work with us, you will have an exceptional team fighting your corner.

Our Lawyers for Assault Charges have an exceptional level of expertise in ABH and GBH cases and are an integral department within our law firm of Criminal Solicitors in Manchester.

Talk to Clifford Johnston & Co. today.

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