Reform NFO

Reform on NFO 

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  • Created on: 15-06-12 15:35
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Reforms of NonFatal Offences
Non Fatal offences include Common Law Assault (S.39) Battery (S.39) ABH (S.47)
GBH and Wounding (S.20) and GBH and Wounding with intent (S.18)
There have been many criticisms of NonFatal offences, for example the fact that they
are badly defined there is still no clear statutory definition of assault and battery, while
the definitions of the more serious offences are contained in the offences against the
person act, which was passed over 100 years ago.
Much of the language used is also misleading, for example "assault" in S.47 Assault
occasioning actual bodily harm, and "maliciously" in S.18 wounding or causing grievous
bodily harm with intent. In S.18 "Maliciously" means nothing in its primary use because
the mens rea is already defined as "with intent" whereas in s.20 malicious wounding or
inflicting grievously bodily harm means with recklessness or basic intent to inflict some
harm. The word "wounding" also does not have a clear definition as in the case of
Eisenhower it states an inflict of the inner and outer layer of the skin, this can be just a
minor wound or a simple graze. This can be misleading to judges when interpreting
such words, making indvidiuals be committed for an offence by accidently tripping
somebody over.
Another Criticism of NonFatal Offences is the hierarchy of seriousness. For starters,
assault and battery can only be punished with a maximum of 6 months imprisonments,
and s.47 assault occasioning actual bodily harm maximum imprisonment is 5 years, yet
the only real difference is that assault occasioning actual bodily harm can just mean
discomfort to another individual. Yet s.20 wounding and grievous bodily harm is defined
as a much more serious offence than s.47 in both the actus reus and mens rea, and yet
they share the maximum sentence of 5 years. Although it is accepted that the maximum
sentence will rarely be imposed, and then only for the most severe offence, it remains
manifestly unfair that the maximum sentence should be identical when both actus reus
and mens rea required for s.20 are much greater than those of s.47
This is also seen in s.20 wounding and grievous bodily harm and s.18 wounding and
grievous bodily harm with intent. Although s.18's mens rea is more serious as it is intent
only, the maximum sentence for s.20 is 5 years, however for s.18 it jumps to life
imprisonment. Although intention to cause wounding or grievous bodily harm is a
serious offence, it is also difficult to prove whether an individual has intended these
actions. This seems unreasonable as the sentence of prisonment is much higher
although both defendants are committing the same crime, and that they will be liable to
a possible life sentence in terms of the outcome of the offence, which will in many cases
have been unforeseen and unintended rather than in the degree of the mens rea. It has

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Proposals for reforms include section 20 and section 18 being replaced by the
separate offence of recklessly causing serious injury to another and intentionally
causing serious injury to another. There would be no longer any reference to wounding
so the problem that a minor wound can be charged under these actions is removed.
The troublesome word inflict would also be removed and replaced by the word caused.…read more


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