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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8978
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Hello. I just submitted a question and thought I'd paid for it but it has gone missing and I've had no receipt from PayPal so I'll try again.
I am a novelist (honest!). My character (Bo) has just been to the home of her ex-lover (Alice) and beaten her.
Alice has sustained a small fracture to her skull and severe bruising but her injuries aren't life-threatening.
I think this would count as GBH (with intent?). What sort of sentence would Bo receive and could psychiatric treatment be a condition of it?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

Are you looking for the injury to be GBH or looking for it not to be GBH?

It is the intent which is the issue. Did Bo intend to cause the injuries or were the injuries and unforeseen circumstance?

If unforeseen circumstance, then there is no intent.

For the purposes of the story, do you need the statutory provisions?

Does Bo have anger management issues?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No lost her temper and attacked Alice. On the whole, she doesn't have anger management issues. She is usally in control but she lost it on this one occasion.She was very angry and was attacking without thinking of consequences.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

There are 4 categories of assault.

1. Common assault, section 39 Criminal Justice Act 1988. The lowest form of assault

2. ABH, section 47 Offences against the Person Act 1861

3. Unlawful wounding/GBH, section 20 of the above

4. GBH with intent, section 18 of the above.

The difference between 1 and 2 is the degree of injury and the sentencing powers available from the court. The maximum in the magistrates court is six months imprisonment. However magistrates rarely imprisoned, they would refer it to Crown Court.

Number three is committed when the person maliciously wounds another person or inflicted GBH. There has to be a breaking of the skin for there to be a wound.

Number four is the most serious assault possible where the harm was intended. It is the least common prosecuted because the next serious offence is attempted murder.

In the scenario you relate, it is likely to be charged as section 47 because as you said, she “lost it”. If she lost it, she might be able to rely on the defence of automatism (red mist).

It is worthwhile reading the CPS webpage on this subject

There is unlikely to be psychiatric condition unlesss there is history of problems in that respect

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It’s the process by which experts get paid.

We can still exchange emails. Best wishes.


Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you. Would it be a custodial sentence for a s 47 offence?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

The sentencing guidelines are set out here.if you go to page 12 and onwards, you will see the sentencing guidelinesfor section 47.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8978
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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