Non Fatal Offences, Consent and Self Defence

My notes (a distinctly shortened version of them!) for: Non Fatal Offences (Assault, Battery, s47 ABH, ss18 and 20 GBH), Consent and Self Defence

More will be up soon on other areas of law, i.e. property offences, general defences etc. Just have to type them!

Please comment or message me if you spot any mistakes as I'd like to know if I've been revising the wrong thing!!!

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  • Created on: 22-05-11 18:09
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5) Non Fatal Offences against the Person and the defences of self defence and consent
What are Non Fatal Offences?
Kind of self explanatory : these are offences against a person that do not result in death
They are based on whether or not the V was injured, the seriousness of their injuries and the D's intent.
From least serious to most serious, these offences are:
o Assault
o Battery
o Assault occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)
o Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)
o Causing Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) with intent
A common law offence
Recognised for sentencing purposes under s39 of the Criminal Justice Act (1988) ­ max sentence 6 months/£5000 fine or both
An act which causes the V to apprehend the infliction of immediate, unlawful force either with intention or through recklessness.
Actus Reus:
An act which causes the V to fear immediate and unlawful force
The act may be things said, things done or even silence (no omissions)
R v Constanza (1997) ­ D stalked a woman for 2 years, harassing her with visits, letters and phone calls. The victim interpreted these as a
threat and it was held by the CoA that letters could be an assault.
R v Ireland (1997) ­ D made silent phone calls over an extended period to 3 women. It was held that these could constitute an assault.
The apprehension of immediate unlawful force (no assault if it is obvious the D cannot use force)
R v Lamb (1967) ­ D and V were playing with a revolver. Mistakenly believing that the gun would not fire, it did killing V, however as he had
not feared any violence there was no assault so D was not guilty/.
o Immediate in this instance means `imminent'
Smith v Chief Superintendent of Woking Police Station (1983) ­ D went into a garden and peered through V's window late one night. V
thought he was about to enter the room. Although being outside, he could not have attacked at that moment, the fear of what he would do
next was sufficient.
Words indicating that there will be no violence may negate the effect of the assault:
Tuberville v Savage (1669) ­ D placed a hand on his sword and made a conditional threat "If it were not assize time I would not take such
language from you". His words showed that he would not do anything so it was not an assault.

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The force which is threatened must be unlawful (see battery notes)
Mens Rea:
Intention/recklessness that causes another to fear immediate and unlawful force. An offence of basic intent.
A common law offence
Recognised for sentencing purposes under s39 of the Criminal Justice Act (1988) ­ max sentence 6 months/£5000 fine or both
The application of unlawful force to another person, either with intent or through recklessness.…read more

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Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm
A triable either way offence
Max sentence 5 years
Listed under s47 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861)
It is an assault or battery which causes Actual Bodily Harm, with the mens rea for either assault or battery [as previously discussed]
Actus Reus:
An assault/battery that caused (occasioning) ABH
Harm may be "any hurt or injury calculated to interfere with the health of comfort of the victim"- so any injury, including multiple bruising, superficial
cuts and scratches can…read more

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What is GBH?
In DPP v Smith (1961) it was held that GBH means "really serious harm". It does not have to be life threatening. Serious psychiatric injury may be classed as
GBH (see R v Burstow (1997)). The severity of injuries should be assessed according to the age and health of the V.…read more

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AO2 Points on the Law of Non Fatal Offences
The Offences Against the Person Act (1861) is complicated, difficult to understand, and uses old fashioned language, such as `maliciously', `grievous'
and `occasioning' ­ to some extent this has been solved by way of statutory interpretation but remains an issue
Assault and Battery remain common law offences with no statutory definition (they are recognised by OAPA for sentencing purposes only)
s47 ABH is vaguely defined and has the same mens rea for the offences of assault…read more

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The consent must be `real and informed':
R v Tabbassum (2000) ­ D persuaded several women to have their breasts measured for medical purposes. They consented on the basis
that they thought he had medical qualifications. He didn't, so their consent was not `real'
R v Dica (2004) ­ D knew he was HIV positive and had unprotected sex with two women. They claimed that they did not know about his
illness and would not have slept with him if they had known.…read more

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Wayne is the captain of a football team. During an important match against their local rivals, he is involved in a clash of heads with an opposing player, Andy.
Wayne gets a nasty bruise and is badly concussed. He insists on continuing to play after treatment with a cold sponge but is obviously still very dazed. A few
minutes later he leaps wildly into a foul tackle on Andy, who is carried off in agony and later revealed to have a broken ankle.…read more


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