AQA Law a2 unit 3 criticisms

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  • Created on: 17-01-13 20:30
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Criticisms of non-fatal offences:
There are many criticisms on the laws of non-fatal offences but there are also reforms put in place to
try and rectify these issues.
One criticism is that there is no statutory definition for assault and battery definitions that are
available are in a statute made 150 years ago.
Another criticism confusing use of language "grievous bodily harm" (old word) "maliciously" mean
different things (s.20 intentionally/recklessly s.18 only intentionally) "assault occasioning actual
bodily harm" misleading (could be assault or battery)
There are also criticisms on the actus reus such as a minor cut could technically be treated as s.20
wounding (but isn't due to the joint charging standard) s.20 refers to `inflicting' s.18 refers to
`causing' (but they're the same thing according to Ireland Lord Steyn)
The mens rea issues is that in s.18 requirements are different one causing serious injury almost
resulting in death the other is accidently causing a police officer injury in a struggle (seems
imbalanced) in s.20 and s.47 actus reus doesn't match mens rea requirements (actus reus has lower
degree of harm) e.g. in s.47 only have to prove MR for assault or battery when AR includes abh
The last criticism is that the maximum sentence across assault/battery, abh and gbh take huge leaps
(6 months, 5 years, life imprisonment) when there's only slightly more mens rea in each case
Case law reforms set out in cases such as Miller (psychological harm), Chan Fook (identifiable clinical
condition not emotions abh), Ireland ("inflict" doesn't require physical force), Constanza (defined
immediate in assault) and Dica (biological harm gbh)
Statutory reforms were attempted by making draft bill 1998 but nothing more happened. Would
have created 4 main offences: serious injury with intention to cause it ­ life. Serious injury caused
recklessly ­ 7 years. Intentionally/recklessly causing injury ­ 5 years. Assault recklessly or intentionally
applying force.
Criticisms on defences:
Many criticisms on the laws on defences I'll be picking out self-defence and insanity and reforms put
in place to rectify its issues.
One defence that can be criticised is self-defence is that the defence is available even if V is armed
(Mciness) could encourage people to fight instead of avoid. Attorney ref No.2 1983 states V is
allowed to act before getting attacked for protection (again may promote fighting) but Malnik states
defences doesn't apply if you put self in danger.
This could be a problem where the V thought they were in danger and attacks when they weren't
like in Jean Charles but in Williams it states V can still use defence if it was genuine mistake (offers too

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V can't judge nicety of amount of force necessary (so rule of
reasonable amount of force is flawed if there's no true measure to judge what it is)
LC 2006 rejected idea to make new partial defence. CJA 2009 loss of control can be pleaded. CJA
and immigration act 2008 clarified rules to apply when V has made genuine mistake.…read more

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Issue with DR like in the case of Bryne the abnormality of the mind was not a medical condition
(confusion for the jury) so CJA now refers to it as `abnormality there are still restrictions of who can
use this defence because developmental immaturity is not included (so adult can plead but ordinary
10yr old can't). The defence will not help mercy killers (hard to prove recognised medical condition).
in cases involving intoxication and DR the jury have to disregard DR (Dietchmann).…read more


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