Wounding Charges in Queensland

Wounding Charges in Queensland

Aitken Whyte Lawyers Sunshine Coast



The Offence

In Queensland, any person who unlawfully wounds anyone else:

  • commits a misdemeanour; and
  • is liable to a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.

A wounding is unlawful if it is not authorised, justified, or excused by law.


Finalised in The District Court

Wounding is an indictable offence that cannot be heard summarily. This means that due to the severity of the charge, the Magistrates Court cannot deal with it. Instead, it will need to be “committed” to the District Court where the Court will deal with it by:

  • way of a plea of guilty; or
  • a trial, if the alleged offender pleads not guilty.


What Is “Wounding”?

The case of R v Jervis held that the law should give an injury of “wounding” its ordinary meaning. Thus, the police must allege a Defendant broke and penetrated the true skin to constitute a wound. It is not enough for an injury to be to the cuticle or outer skin only.

Injuries of this nature often stem from either a wound from a knife, a broken glass or bottle.

Pub glassings” are common actions of an offender that often result in charges of wounding.


Alternative to Grievous Bodily Harm

Grievous bodily harm, or GBH, is a separate, more serious, offence which can result from the same action.

If the injury sustained by the victim is more severe, it may amount to grievous bodily harm. For an action to constitute wounding, the injury caused must not be severe enough to be GBH. Otherwise, the police will likely charge the more serious offence.



Period of Imprisonment

Sentencing statistics over the last few years highlight the most common penalties. For an offence of wounding, this is a period of imprisonment.

The Court has made clear that conduct of this type will usually warrant a custodial sentence. This has been the case even for young people who have not before received a period of imprisonment.


Wholly Suspended, Partially Suspended, Parole Release, And Parole Eligibility

There are different types of custodial sentences available to a Court. The actual time spent in custody can vary depending on how the Court structures the sentence. A Defendant may not need to serve the entire period in a correctional centre.

Instead, the Court can:

  • wholly, or partially, suspend imprisonment; or
  • give the offender a parole release or eligibility date;

after serving:

  • none; or
  • some of the sentence;

depending on the offender’s circumstances.


Considerations of The Court

Factors that will determine what penalty the Court will impose depend on:

  • the nature of the injury;
  • the circumstances of the offence;
  • whether the offender has a criminal history and if so if there are other offences of violence;
  • whether the offender pleads guilty at an early or late stage in the matter; as well as
  • the offender’s background and character.


Wounding While “Drunk and Disorderly

If an offender committed the offence:

  • in a public place; while
  • adversely affected by an intoxicating substance;

the Court must make a community service order as a penalty for the offending. This is regardless of whether the Court chooses to impose any other penalty.

Intoxication in a public place is a “circumstance of aggravation” to the offence. A community service order is unavoidable. This is unless:

  • the Defendant; or
  • someone on their behalf;

satisfies the Court that the Defendant is unable to carry out a community service order due to:

  • physical;
  • intellectual; or
  • psychiatric disability.


Discussion of Relevant Cases

R v Cui

In R v Cui [2009] QCA 334 the District Court of Queensland convicted the offender of one count of unlawful wounding. The District Court sentenced him to:

  • 2.5 years imprisonment;
  • suspended after serving 6 months in custody.

The offender was successful in appealing this sentence. The Court of Appeal amended it to be:

  • 18 months imprisonment; with
  • immediate parole release on the date of appeal.

The circumstances of that offence were that:

  1. The victim and the complainant (both in their early 20s at the time) were housemates.
  2. An altercation arose over the owing of money.
  3. This resulted in the offender putting a knife to the complainant’s throat saying, “I will cut you”.
  4. He then cut the victim’s upper left arm with the knife; the cut was five centimetres long and superficial in nature.

In his favour, the offender:

  • had no previous convictions;
  • had employment at the time of sentence;
  • had supportive people in his life who gave character references to the Court; and
  • made a personal apology to the complainant who he remained friends with.

He also paid $3,000 compensation to the victim for the injury.


R v Curley

On the more serious end of the scale, in the matter of R v Curley [2002] QCA 140 an offender pleaded guilty to:

  • one count of unlawful wounding; and
  • one count of occasioning bodily harm whilst armed.

The District Court sentenced her to:

  • imprisonment of 4 years; with
  • parole eligibility after 21 months.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal altered this to:

  • 4 years imprisonment;
  • suspended after 18 months served in custody.

The circumstances of the case were that:

  1. The victim was the offender’s adult daughter.
  2. Both had been drinking at their house and were under the influence of alcohol.
  3. An argument ensued over care for the victim’s young child.
  4. As a result, the offender struck her daughter over the head with a wine bottle, causing the bottle to shatter. This constituted the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm whilst armed.
  5. The offender then thrust the broken bottle into the area of the victim’s throat and chin. This constituted the offence of wounding.

The victim suffered an 8-centimetre laceration to the neck with seventeen sutures required. There was also a laceration to the chin which required nine sutures.

On their criminal history, the offender had:

  • two prior convictions for the offence of wounding within a period of under 4 years; and
  • other convictions for offences involving assault.

The Defendant’s legal counsel was able to persuade the Court to lessen the time spent in actual custody on appeal, due to:

  • the offender’s demonstrated remorse;
  • the offender’s re-established relationship with the victim; and
  • the fact that there was a report stating the offender had reduced their intake of alcohol.

The victim also indicated that she would rather have her mother in the community.



The offence of wounding can attract a wide range of sentences.

If the police have charged you with this offence, you should seek legal advice.

We can explain your background, and factors which will count in your favour to the Court. This will yield a better result than if the Court is only able to rely on the facts presented by the Prosecution.

There are also defences to wounding available. We will explore these with you if any might be applicable.


Appearing in Court – Here to Help

Proper experience appearing before the Court for serious violence offences is essential.

Aitken Whyte Lawyers are focused on results.

Our Criminal Defence Team can:

  • speak to the police on your behalf;
  • prepare your matter for Court and assist you to prepare; and
  • advocate for you before the Court to achieve the best possible outcome.

Aitken Whyte Lawyers can assist you with all criminal charges. We have extensive experience representing clients for serious violence offences, such as wounding.

To speak to a criminal lawyer about your situation and get advice or representation, call us on 07 5408 0655.

Office Location and Contact Details

Sunshine Coast

Aitken Whyte Lawyers
11/8 Pikki Street,
Maroochydore Qld 4558
Ph: +617 5408 0655
Fax: +617 3211 9311
Email Us


Aitken Whyte Lawyers
11/8 Pikki Street,
Maroochydore Qld 4558

T: 07 5408 0655

Email Us


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