The consequences of an acid attack are devastating and life changing and this has understandably led to the Government considering the appropriate level of sentencing that can be imposed.

Current legislation

It is worth looking at what offences people who carry out acid attacks would be charged with currently :

s18 – Grevious Bodily Harm (intentionally causing really serious harm) – maximum sentence : life
s20 – Grevious Bodily Harm (causing really serious harm without intending to) – maximum sentence : 5 years
• Throwing corrosive fluid on a person (with intent to cause Grevious Bodily Harm) – s29 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 – life

A person who is caught carrying a container of acid with the intention of using it, would be charged with Possession of an Offensive Weapon (s1 Prevention of Crime Act 1953). The maximum sentence is 4 years.

There is also an offence under s64 Offences Against the Person Act 1861, with a maximum sentence of 2 years, for anyone who “shall knowingly have in his possession, or make or manufacture, any … noxious thing … with intent by means thereof to commit … any of the felonies in this Act“. This is a wider offence that covers people having the acid at home or outside, and the prosecution do not have to prove the intent to cause Grevious Bodily Harm.

Ultimately if someone has attacked another person using acid as the weapon, it is very difficult to argue that the perpetrator did not intend to cause serious harm.

If you would like to find out more about our Private Criminal Defence services, give us a call on 023 9244 8100 or email Lucy Linington on