Causing Serious Harm

Causing Serious Harm

It is an offence to do something, or omit to do something, which causes serious harm to another person, and you intend to cause harm or were reckless about whether or not harm would be caused.

Major Indictable Charge

Causing serious harm is a major indictable charge. The proceedings will initially commence in the Magistrates Court of South Australia. If there is sufficient evidence against you, the case will then be transferred to the District Court of South Australia.

What the prosecution must prove

The prosecution must prove that you did an act, or omitted to do something, that act or omission caused serious harm, and you intended to cause harm or were reckless about the fact that you might cause harm.


There are a range of possible defences including, but not limited to, the following:

  • you suffered an automatism;
  • the victim consented;
  • you were defending yourself or another person;
  • you were defending your property;
  • you were acting under duress;
  • you were suffering a mental impairment; 
  • you did not intend to cause harm.


The maximum penalty for a basic offence is 10 years imprisonment while the maximum penalty for an aggravated offence is 12 years imprisonment.

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