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New South Wales has enacted legislation which has created an offence of causing a grievous bodily disease. This offence was created in 1990, the relevant Section is Section 36 of the Crimes Act 1901. 

Causing a Grievous Bodily Disease

A person:

  • who maliciously by any means causes another person to contract a grievous bodily disease; or
  • who attempts maliciously by any means to cause another person to contract a grievous bodily disease,

with the intent of any such case of causing the other person to contract a grievous bodily disease, is liable to penal servitude of twenty five (25) years.

Therefore in effect a person who, maliciously by any means, intentionally causes or attempts to cause another person to contract a grievous bodily disease is guilty of an offence and is liable to a maximum term of twenty five (25)years in jail.

Although criminal penalties have been used in certain instances, the majority of cases where a person is putting another at risk are dealt with within the context of public health practice.

In NSW the following guidelines have been adopted. Guidelines on the management of people with HIV/AIDS who knowingly place other at risk, AIDS Bureau, Department of Health, NSW 1990.

Broadly speaking these staged approaches increasingly place restrictions on an infected persons liberty:

Stage 1:

Counselling, education and support; 

Stage 2:

A request for formal involvement by the public health agency, the establishment of a case management panel with interventions that include peer support, medical and psychological assistance, housing and financial support,therapy that reduces the risk of behavior such as methadone, and a warning indicating that person's legal responsibilities to not place others at risk; 

Stage 3:

An application of formal public health sanctions such as a restriction of a person's movement or activities and, if necessary, an order requiring the person to attend for a health review or counselling; and 

Stage 4:

Application of detention and/or isolation orders in an appropriate facility. 


This information is provided by the firm of Ryan & Bosscher Lawyers who specialize in this area of law. They are located at Level 1, 255 Castlereagh Street Sydney 2000, or call them on (02) 9266 0708

Ryan and Bosscher, Lawyers, is a specialist Criminal Law firm committed to providing quality service to clients. There are very few firms practising exclusively in the area of Criminal Defence, and with a reputation of hard headedness, dogged determination and fearlessness, Ryan and Bosscher has become a leading Criminal Defence firm in New South Wales. We are committed to Justice and the protection of an individual's rights. Our specialisation ensures provision of the highest standard of representation to any person charged with a criminal offence. Our familiarity with Criminal Law also ensures that Counsel briefed for complex advocacy matters are also highly qualified in the Criminal Defence field.

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