What is reckless wounding?

Section 35(4) of the Crimes Act 1900 provides that a person who wounds a person, and is reckless as to causing actual bodily harm to that or any other person, is guilty of an offence.

Section 35(5) of the Crimes Act 1900 is the charge assigned to persons who commit this offence in the company of others.

What is wounding?

The breaking or cutting of the inner layer of skin, known as the dermis, is a wound. This means that a scratch or cut of the outer layer of skin, known as the epidermis, is not a wound at law.

So the breaking of both the inner and outer layers of the skin constitutes a wound.

Examples of a wound include a:

  • split lip,
  • deep knife or glass cut, or
  • an action such a punch, hit, kick or push that results in a person’s skin (the dermis) breaking.

It need not cause permanent or serious disfigurement.

It need not be caused by a weapon: R v Shepherd [2003] NSWCCA 351

What is recklessness?

This is where the risk of harm was foreseen, but the accused took that risk regardless of the possibility of causing harm to another person: Chen v R [2013] NSWCCA 116 at [65].

The culpability for recklessness is a lower that of the culpability of having intention to commit harm.

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