R v Metharam (Pessuman) – Case Summary

R v Metharam (Pessuman)

Court of Appeal

Citations: (1961) 45 Cr App R 304; [1961] 3 All ER 200.


The appellant injured a woman with a knife. The woman’s injuries required seventeen stitches to her cheek, thumb and ring finger. The appellant was convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He appealed on the grounds that the trial judge wrongly directed the jury that ‘grievous bodily harm’ is not ‘necessarily either permanent or dangerous, but harm that seriously interferes with health or comfort.’

  1. Had the judge correctly directed the jury?
  2. Was the conviction safe?

The Court of Appeal upheld the conviction. The judge had misdirected the jury. Grievous bodily harm is very serious harm, not just harm which seriously interferes with health or comfort. However, even if they had been correctly directed the jury could only reasonably conclude that the appellant intended to inflict grievous bodily harm. As such, the conviction was safe.

This Case is Authority For…

Grievous bodily harm is ‘really serious bodily harm’.