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The accused must have caused the victim a serious injury

In a charge for aggravated assault, the accused must have caused the victim a serious injury. A serious injury may be a wounding – meaning that the skin is pierced through and broken such that the victim bleeds.

It may be a wounding that causes an internal injury or causes damage on an internal organ. It could be a wounding that causes a fracture of the bones. It may be a wounding that leaves a disfigurement or scarring.

To consider a wounding as serious, medical assistance, hospitalization or surgery is necessary to stop the bleeding or to repair the wound. The time it takes for the wound to heal may also determine the seriousness of the wounding: wounds that take less than nine days to heal will not be considered as serious an injury as a wound that takes more than two weeks to heal.

The wounding must be the direct, natural and proximate consequence of an act of the accused. It must not have been caused by the negligence, want of care or lack of diligence on the part of the accused. If the wounding were unintentional and it were merely a result of a breach of a legal duty to exercise care or diligence, then it is not a malicious act of wounding. It is not an aggravated assault.

In the course of presenting evidence in an indictment for aggravated assault and reasonable doubt is raised as to the seriousness of the wound, then it is possible that the accused may not be found guilty of aggravated assault but only of simple or common assault. If there is reasonable doubt raised as to the intentional infliction by the accused of the victim’s wound, then there is the possibility that the accused may not be found guilty of aggravated assault at all but only of negligent wounding.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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