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Criminal Offence: Voluntary Causing Hurt

Voluntary causing hurt is an offence under Section 321 of the Penal Code. 

What is Voluntary Causing Hurt?

Voluntary causing hurt is committed when an individual does an act that causes hurt to another individual while (1) intending to cause hurt to that individual OR (2) knowing that individual is likely to cause hurt to that person. 

What is Hurt?

Under section 319 of the Penal Code, “Hurt” is defined as causing bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person. 

This therefore include a wide range of affliction including causing any physical injuries such as punching; and psychological injuries such as pointing a dangerous weapon on an individual to an extend that the said individual suffered from a psychological harm.

Intentionally spreading Corona Virus to another individual may also potentially fall under this offence.   

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Aggravated Form of Voluntary Causing Hurt

While voluntary causing hurt is an offence under section 321 of the Penal Code, there are specific circumstances that are considered to be an aggravated form of voluntary causing hurt and will attract heavier penalty against the offender. 

These includes: 

  1. Voluntarily causing hurt by constraining the victim, or to extort property from the victim or to facilitate a commission of another offence; 
  2. Voluntarily causing hurt by using a dangerous weapon or other means that may cause death, fire, poison or other means that may harm a human body; 
  3. Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from performing their duties. This includes police officers, prison officers, judicial officers and government officials; 
  4. Voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession or to compel restoration of property. 
Commission of the aggravated form of voluntary causing hurt will be charged under separate section of the Penal Code and heavier penalty will be issued against the offender. 

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What if I was provoked?

In the occasions where the offender was given a sudden and grave provocation that lead to the offender committing the offence, the offender will not be excused of the offence under the Penal Code. The offender may however be given a lower penalty and be charged under section 334 of the Penal Code instead of the usual section 321 of the Penal Code.  

What are the Penalties for Voluntarily Causing Hurt?

The maximum penalties for Voluntarily Causing Hurt that can be meted out by the court include an imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine of up to $5,000.00 or both. However, the usual sentence that can be meted depends on the type of harm that was caused to their victim. Summarily, the sentencing framework for an offence of Voluntarily Causing Hurt are as follows: 

Band  Extend of harm  Common Sentencing Position
1 Low harm wherein no visible injury or only minor injuries were sustained by the victim Fine or imprisonments up to 4 weeks 
2 Moderate harm wherein the victim will have short hospitalization, or a significant amount of medical leave is given to the victim  Between 4 to 6 weeks imprisonment 
3 Serious harm wherein the victim suffered injuries that are permanent in nature or requires surgery  Between 6 months to 2 years of imprisonment 

However, an aggravated offence will attract different penalty and can be surmised as follows: 

Offence Relevant Section of Penal Code Maximum Sentence
Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or other means  324 Up to 7 years imprisonment or with fine, or with caning or with any combination of such punishment 
Voluntarily causing hurt to extort property or to constrain to an illegal act  327 Up to 10 years of imprisonment and with fine or caning 
Voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession or to compel restoration of property  330 Up to 7 years imprisonment and with fine and caning 
Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from their duty  332 Up to 7 years imprisonment and with fine and caning 

Why are the police not arresting the individual committing the offence?

Voluntarily causing hurt is a non-arrestable offence. As such, a police officer will require an arrest warrant from the court before the arrest can be made. 

In the event that no arrest warrant was issued by the court for the offence, you may wish to consider filing a Magistrate Complaint or to seek for legal advice to assist you in this matter. 

How can we help?

In the event that the police are not intending to take any action against the individual committing the offence, you may seek for legal advice to take a private prosecution against the individual. 

In the event that the criminal court does not award you any damages for the injuries sustained by you, we can also pursue a civil action for you for any damages that was not awarded to you by the criminal court. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us and we will see to your case. 

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The information contained within this website contains general information about our lawyers, Law Firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.
Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. 

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