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Serious Violent Offences

Our advocates spend a considerable amount of their time defending people who have been charged with serious violent offences. They are complicated matters that carry significant penalties if a person is convicted. Our solicitors know how important the initial stages of these investigations are. That is why we make sure we are with you every step of the way to ensure that your rights are protected.


Any person who unlawfully kills another is guilty of a crime, which is called either Murder or Manslaughter depending on the circumstances of the case. Whether it be Murder or Manslaughter all Homicide offences are finalised in the Supreme Court.

The Queensland Criminal Code renders it unlawful to kill any person unless authorised, justified or excused by law. Killing is defined as any person who causes the death of another, directly or indirectly, by any means whatsoever.

Under s302 of the Queensland Criminal Code any person who unlawfully kills another in the following circumstances is guilty of Murder:-

  1. if the offender intends to cause the death of the person killed or that of some other person or if the offender intends to do to the person killed or to some other person some grievous bodily harm;
  2. if death is caused by means of an act done in the prosecution of an unlawful purpose, which act is of such a nature as to be likely to endanger human life;
  3. if the offender intends to do grievous bodily harm to some person for the purpose of facilitating the commission of a crime which is such that the offender may be arrested without warrant, or for the purpose of facilitating the flight of an offender who has committed or attempted to commit any such crime;
  4. if death is caused by administering any stupefying or overpowering thing for either of the purposes mentioned in paragraph (c);
  5. if death is caused by wilfully stopping the breath of any person for either of such purposes;

The penalty for anyone who commits Murder is life imprisonment, which cannot be mitigated or varied. It is common for a minimum non-parole period of 15 years to be imposed however given recent amendments to legislation in some circumstances that non-parole period has been increased to 25 years imprisonment (killing of a police officer) or 30 years imprisonment (more than 1 conviction for Murder).


Any person who unlawfully kills another under such circumstances as not to constitute murder is guilty of manslaughter. The maximum penalty for manslaughter is life imprisonment.

Some defences to Murder and Manslaughter include self-defence, accident and diminished responsibility.

Grievous bodily harm

Pursuant to section 320 of the Criminal Code any person who unlawfully does grievous bodily harm (GBH) to another is guilty of a crime. As an assault is not an element of the offence consent and provocation will not operate as defences to this charge and the defence of self-defence can only operate in limited circumstances.

What is Grievous bodily harm?

Grievous bodily harm or (GBH) is defined as:

  1. the loss of a distinct part or an organ of the body; or
  2. serious disfigurement; or
  3. any bodily injury of such a nature that, if left untreated, would endanger or be likely to endanger life, or cause or be likely to cause permanent injury to health;

whether or not treatment is or could have been available.

The maximum penalty for the offence of Grievous Bodily Harm is 14 years imprisonment and the matter can only be finalised in the District Court.

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Any person who tortures another commits a crime. The maximum penalty for torture is 14 years imprisonment. The crime of Torture can only be finalised in the District Court.

What constitutes torture?

Torture is defined as the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering on a person by an act or series of acts done on 1 or more than 1 occasion.

Pain and suffering is defined as including physical, mental, psychological or emotional pain or suffering, whether temporary or permanent.

Where a person is convicted of torture involving the intentional infliction on more than one occasion there is a risk of being declared a Serious Violent Offence which requires a person to serve at least 80% of their sentence before being released from custody.

Given the serious consequences of a conviction for a Torture charge it is imperative that you seek our immediate legal advice should you be investigated by Police relative to or charged with Torture.

Unlawful wounding

Any person who unlawfully wounds anyone else commits a misdemeanour. The maximum penalty for wounding is 7 years imprisonment. The misdemeanour of Unlawful Wounding can only be finalised in the District Court.

What constitutes wounding?

Wounding is not defined by the Criminal Code (Qld).
However, at common law, wounding requires that the ‘true’ skin must be penetrated or broken. “Unlawful” means not authorised or justified or excused by law.

Upon conviction for a wounding charge a term of imprisonment is usually imposed by the Courts. It is important that if you are charged with a Wounding offence that you seek legal representation immediately as it may mean the difference between serving time in a correctional centre or remaining in the community.


Any person who rapes another person is guilty of a crime. A person rapes another person if—

  1. the person has carnal knowledge with or of the other person without the other person’s consent; or
  2. the person penetrates the vulva, vagina or anus of the other person to any extent with a thing or a part of the person’s body that is not a penis without the other person’s consent; or
  3. the person penetrates the mouth of the other person to any extent with the person’s penis without the other person’s consent.

A child under the age of 12 years is incapable of giving consent.

The maximum penalty for Rape is Life Imprisonment and a conviction for an offence of Rape will always result in a term of imprisonment being imposed. Depending on the severity of the Rape and the number of charges a conviction for a Rape charge can result in a person been declared a Serious Violent Offender requiring that person to serve at least 80% of their term or imprisonment.

Should the Rape be on a child then conviction for this offence will also result in a person being a reportable offender under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act.

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