what is worse GBH or ABH

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kovarda | 17:33 Tue 06th Dec 2005 | News
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my 12 year old son was racially abused and bullied by a 15 year old boy, my oldest son who is 19, went and cofronted this boy. The boy told the police that my 19 year old son burnt him with a cigarette. My son has now been charged with ABH, and is on bail. My 12 year old son has been to the police station and made a complaint about the boy, im not sure what will happen there yet... what I wish to know is what will likely happen to my son, he denies burning the boy,and has not been in trouble for this kind of thing before.


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14.2 Assault Causing Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)
Such an assault is a defined as an assault or battery, which in addition causes actual bodily harm. This need not be permanent or serious, but more than just a push or shove on a demo.

Arrest and Punishment
ABH is an �either way� offence, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years on indictment or 6 months summarily. It is therefore arrestable under Section 24 of PACE.

The police may often arrest you on suspicion of ABH or GBH (see below) where their arrest powers are otherwise insufficient � for example, after an assault has taken place � and then later drop the charge to common assault or battery.

14.3 Wounding and Assault causing Grevious Bodily Harm (GBH)
The Offences Against the Persons Act 1847 contains two offences of wounding or causing GBH under Section 18 and 20. Section 18 is by far the most serious as it carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, whereas the maximum for Section 20 is 5 years. The difference is that the prosecution must prove that you intended to cause serious bodily harm under Section 18, whereas they need only show that you acted recklessly under Section 20.

Under both sections, an assault causing grievous bodily harm or wounding is defined as follows.
To constitute a wound the whole skin must be broken. It must be more than a scratch, but one drop of blood would be sufficient.

Grievous bodily harm must be �really serious harm�, an obvious example of which would be a broken bone. There is no legal definition however, and it is a question of fact for the jury to decide.

sp1814 is near enough spot on.

However, local police stations and courts will follow CPS guidelines not the text book.

I can tell you that the definition has slightly changed. All GBH means is "really serious harm" The blood thing has been abolished as GBH can now include psychiatric harm (eg mental anguish). A cigarette burn unless "really serious" would never amount to GBH.

If not already happenned make sure your son on bail sees a solicitor and make sure the defence take a statement from your youngest---NOT THE POLICE!.

If he denies the assault the simple dictum of "can it be proved beyond all reasonable doubt" will come into play. The defence will know if there is independent medical evidence or witnesses. If not his word against your sons.

Further, if it goes all the way to crown court (long way away) he will have the opportunity to build character witnesses (teachers, employers etc) to show he is an unviolent passive guy.

The worse that could happen????? Nobody can say. People found guilty of vile crimes against children have been given community sentences and old women who haven't paid their council tax have been given 6 months.

Honestly, nobody can say.

Just one final thought. Does your son smoke? I hope not and any evidence to say he doesn't (Doctors records will be good) will go a long way in his defence.

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