Mayhem is a very serious crime that could result in severe punishments. According to Penal Code 203 PC, a person is said to be guilty of mayhem if he maliciously deprives individuals of body part or disfigures, disables or renders it useless.
In order to convict a person charged with aggravated mayhem, the prosecutor should be able to prove three facts or what is known as three ‘elements’ of the crime-
- That he used physical force unlawfully
- That it caused any of the above injuries
- That the force was inflicted maliciously
To understand this better, here is a closer look at some terms used while dealing with mayhem-
Every ‘disability’ does not always equate to mayhem. In order for someone to be charged of mayhem for ‘disabling’ some part of a person’s body, the person should do something more than disable a body part temporarily. For instance, if a person breaks the ankle of another and since the ankle takes a considerable amount of time to heal, then it can be considered as disability.
If the injury is permanent, then it can be considered as a case of disfigurement. However a permanent injury is subject to whether or not the doctors can improve or repair the injury. A cut lip that requires stitches does not qualify as permanent injury as it would ultimately heal on its own without serious scarring. However if a part of the lip is bitten off, then the defendant will not be relieved of mayhem charges despite the fact that surgeons could possibly reattach the lip. Forced tattoos, burned scars, permanent blindness etc are all examples of permanent disfigurement.
What is a malicious act?
Now you may wonder what a malicious act is. This is very important as in law every act needs to be appraised. If an individual acts unlawfully with total disregard to the physical and mental implications it may have on the victim and with the intent to injure the person, then it can be termed as a malicious act.
These are the facts that a prosecutor should prove in order to convict a defendant of aggravated mayhem and some of the terms related to this crime. As should be obvious by now, the advocate who is prosecuting or defending should be well aware of the many nuances of law that deals with mayhem. This calls for a lot of experience in the field of criminal law.