The following sentence appeared in a report in The Guardian:

All eight will appear in court on Monday charged with grievous bodily harm and damaging property.

Should not causing be added before grievous as under?

All eight will appear in court on Monday charged with causing grievous bodily harm and damaging property.


Ordinarily, yes.

But in criminal law, the term "grievous bodily harm" is understood as a type of offense. It is also sometimes abbreviated as GBH.

That's why I'd say, in the example above, the journalist didn't find it necessary to add such a clarification.

  • Thanks. Nice explanation. Perhaps the confusion is arising out of this parallelism? 'charged with grievous bodily harm and damaging property'. Damaging harm can stand on its own even if it were not the name of an offense like GBH. – Essen Jun 12 '12 at 4:33

There is no 'causing' because grievous bodily harm is the name of the crime they are charging him with. It is not a reference to the injuries the victim received.

If you cause a fire, you are charged with arson. If you cause somebodies death, you are charged with manslaughter or murder depending on whether it was deliberate or not. If you cause injuries, you are charged with actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm depending on how bad the injuries are.

  • But you may also be accused of committing grievous bodily harm, and the actual charge is 'that you did on Tuesday last cause grievous bodily harm to....' – TimLymington Jun 11 '12 at 11:50
  • Indeed, but accused is not charged. They are accused of doing something, and then charged with the crime. I think it gets confusing because the charge usually describes the accusation. If you are speeding and get caught, you are accused of speeding and then charged with speeding. – Roaring Fish Jun 11 '12 at 12:16

Think of charged with as accused of. So, you would say "he was accused of murder", "he was accused of causing harm", etc. But you can equally say, "he was accused of harm".

So, he was charged with harm is as correct as he was charged with causing harm.

  • 1
    You can't be charged with harm. You can be charged only with a crime, and there is no crime called 'harm'. – Roaring Fish Jun 11 '12 at 11:34

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