The offence of Grievous Hurt involves the accused inflicting an injury that may put the life of the injured in danger. This is lower than the requirement for culpable homicide where the accused has to intend an injury that is likely to cause death. An injury “may endanger” someone even if it is not “likely” to cause death.
The injury inflicted must also incapacitate a person from pursuing some of his ordinary activities for a period of 20 days. There was a case where the victim suffered a deep stab wound to his back and multiple lacerations in his face and hands. His little finger was in a splint and since he was a money lender, he would find it very clumsy to count money with one hand. He could not carry out his money lending duties and this was sufficient to amount to grievous hurt.
It is notable therefore that what constitutes grievous hurt may differ according to the profession of the victim, as his ordinary activities would vary accordingly. However, the extent of this variance is limited because the law considers what the offender intends. If the offender intends only to cause hurt, and did not know that grievous hurt was likely, his offence would be that of hurt even if the victim turns out to be in a particular profession which he is unable to pursue for 20 days. Conversely, if the offender knows that the injury he intends to inflict will prevent the victim from continuing his particular profession for 20 days, it is fair that the offender is charged with grievous hurt, even if that same injury would not incapacitate another victim from pursuing his ordinary activities.
If you are unclear of your legal position, you may do well to seek a criminal lawyer for legal advice. This article only intends to provide you with basic information, and is not intended to be a substitute for the professional services of a criminal law firm. Gloria James Civetta is a criminal law firm in Singapore who has had much experience with offences involving grievous hurt.
N.B. References were made to Yeo, Morgan and Chan, Criminal Law in Malaysia and Singapore, Second Edition.