Cases for Non-fatal offences

S.39 CJA 1988 - Assault and Battery

S.47 OAPA 1861 - ABH

S.20 OAPA 1861 - Wounding/GBH

S.18 OAPA 1861 - GBH with Intent

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Tuberville v Savage (1669) (Assault)

"If it were not assize time, I would not take such language from you"

No assault

Judges were in town, so V knew they were in no danger

Words can negate the assault.

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Light (1857) (Assault)

Raised sword over wife's head:

"Were it not for the bloody policeman outside, I would split your head open"


D actually said what he was going to do.

Words can negate the assault.

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R v Lamb (1967) (Assault)

Lamb accidently shot his best friend with a revolver

Conviction quashed - No evidence V was in fear.

There is NO assault if V is not put into fear of immediate harm

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Smith v Chief Superintendent, Woking Police (1983)

As long as V does fear unlawful and immediate violence, this may be enough for the AR, even though the violence may not have been possible at that moment:

D committed an assault by standing in V's garden, looking at her in her nightdress through her bedroom window.

Kerr LJ said that it was sufficient that D had instilled in V an apprehension of what he might do next.

Even though he was in the garden and not able to attack her that very second, V thought that 'whatever he might be going to do next, and sufficiently immediately for the purposes of the offence, was something of a violent nature'

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R v Constanza (1997) (Assault)

Similar facts to Ireland - V knew that D lived nearby and that 'she thought something could happen at any time'.

It was sufficient for the Crown to have proved an apprehension of force "At some time not excluding the immediate future" (Vague...)

There is a flexible approach to the definition of 'immediate'

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R v Ireland (1997) (Assault)

Unwanted telephone calls to three women; when they answered the telephone there was nothing but silence...

First case: Silence is an offence

Lord Steyn "Proposition that a gesture may amount to an assault, but that words can never suffice is unrealistic and undefensible"

Convicted of ABH due to causing psychological harm

Ireland: Psychiatric harm is ABH.

Approved Chan-Fook

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Cole v Turner (1704) (Battery)

The 'least touching of another is sufficient for a battery'

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R v Day (1845) (Battery)

D slashed P's clothes with a knife.

The judge said this was sufficient

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Collins v Wilcock (1984) (Battery)

"It has long been accepted that any touching of another person, however slight, may amount to a battery"

Police officer restrained a woman but did not arrest her.

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R v Savage (1991) (ABH)

"Nice to meet you darling"

Went to pub, saw husbands new girlfriend, went to throw a drink over her and accidently let go of the glass too.

Her actions satisfied the reckless element

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Haystead v DPP (2000) (Battery)

D punched a woman who was holding a small child in her arms, she dropped the boy on the ground as a result of the blows.

D was charged with assaulting the boy and the Divisional Court upheld the conviction of battery, even though no direct physical contact had occurred between D and the boy.

Transferred malice - Indirect force

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R v Venna (1975) (Battery)

D was being arrested following a scuffle outside a pub; he kicked out wildly and struck a policeman, breaking a bone in his hand. D was convicted of assaulting a constable.

Held: "In our view the element of mens rea in the offence of battery is satisfied by proof that the D intentionally or recklessly applied force to the person of another"

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R v Latimer (1886) (Battery)

D took off belt, aimed at P, but hit Q (Wounding)

'Purely accidental' 'Not such a consequence of the blows as Latimer ought to have expected'

Transferred Malice

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Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner (1968) (B

Indirect force - A battery requires some positive act - a failure to act is not normally enough - but may be committed indirectly as well as directly...

Police car on foot...Continuous chain of events

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R v Roberts (1971) (ABH)

D tried to remove the coat of his female passenger and she had jumped out of the car to escape. Suffered grazing and concussion.

Established daftness test - If V does something "so daft or so unexpected that no reasonable person could be expected to forsee it" then it would be breaking the chain of causation

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R v Chan-Fook (1994) (ABH)

C-F suspected that V had stolen his fiancee's engagement ring, C-F dragged him upstairs + locked him in a second-floor room. V tried to escape but was injured when he fell to the ground. V alleged that even if he had not been physcially injured, the trauma he suffered prior to the escape bid would amount to ABH.

V said he felt 'abused, frightened and humiliated'

C-F convicted - On appeal Court of Appeal quashed the conviction, although court held first that ABH was capable of including psychiatric injury, what V suffered did not qualify.

ABH include psychiatric harm, however it must be more than feelings of fright or humiliation.

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R v Savage (1991) (ABH)

"Nice to meet you darling"

Went to pub, saw husbands new girlfriend, went to throw a drink over her and accidently let go of the glass too.

Her actions satisfied the reckless element

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R v Burstow (1997) (GBH)

"Hate Campaign"

Campaign of harassment against a former girlfriend consisting mainly of silent phone calls, hate mail and more eccentric behaviour.

She was eventually diagnosed with severe depression

D convicted of GBH.

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R v Dica (GBH)

Biological Harm.

D knew he had HIV, but had unprotected sex with two women on a number of occasions.

Charged with two counts of inflicting GBH, D denied the offences contending that any sexual intercourse was fully consensual.

Judge ruled that any consent by the two women was irrelevant and provided no defnece as a matter of law, because of the serious nature of the disease.

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R v Konzani (2005) (GBH)

D convicted of 'biological' GBH on 3 women over a 3 year period.

At his trial, the Jury rejected his plea that the victims all consented to the risk of catching HIV because they all agreed to have sex with him.

Court said that D had 'decieved' the women and there was not the slightest evidence, direct or indirect from which a jury could begin to infer that D honestly believed that the victims consented to that specific risk of contracting HIV.

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R v Martin (1881) (GBH)

Iron bar on theatre door

Charged with 'inflicting' GBH - "Inflict" meant no more than "cause" and did not require a face-to-face assault

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R v Mowatt (1967) (GBH)

With s.20, it is enough that D forsees that their acts might cause 'some physical harm to some other person' according to Mowatt.

Confirmed in Savage 1992.

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Bollom (2003) (GBH with Intent)

Convicted of GBH with intent to the 17 month old daughter of his girlfriend.

Bollom appealed, arging that the judge had wrongly allowed the Jury to take into account Alex's age in determining whether the injuries were 'grievous'

CA decided that it would be wrong to ignore V's age, health or 'any other particular factors' in deciding whether injuries amounted to really serious harm. (Age is important)

Court found the Judge had made another mistake and therefore quashed Bollom's convictoin under s.18, substituting it for a conviction under s.47 instead.

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R v Piff (1994) (GBH with intent)

In an off the ball argument, a footballer D head-butted an opponent in the face, shattering his cheekbone and eye socket. He pled guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent, and was sent to prison for six months

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JCC v Eisenhower (1983) (Wounding)

Bloodshot eye (Shot in the eye)

Definition of wounding - There should be a 'break in the continuity of the whole skin'

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DPP v A (2001) (Wounding)

13 year old boy accidently shot his friend in the eye while playing with an air pistol, charged with s.20 wounding.

Allowing an appeal by the Crown, the Divisional Coury said the proper question is whether D had forseen that some physical harm might occur, however slight

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R v Brown (1994) (Consent)

S & M (Group of people)

Anthony Brown and others belonged to a group of sado-masochists who over a 10-year period willingly and enthusiastically participated in acts of violence against each other for sexual pleasure

All members were charged with various offences including s.47 ABH and s.20 Wounding

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R v Wilson (1996) (Consent)

Branding (Man and wife)

Alan Wilson branded his initials onto his wife's buttocks using a hot blade, She regarded it as 'a desirable personal adornment'

Wilson convicted of ABH, but was later quashed on appeal.

"Adornment" - Like a tattoo

Distinguished on the facts of this case - Wilson made precedent.

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R v Richardson (1998) (Consent)

D was a dentist who had been suspended by the GDC.

She continued to practice and treat patients like normal, she was eventually found and prosecuted, convicted of 6 counts of ABH, on the basis that her fraud as to her continued entitlement to practice, negatived her patients consent.

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R v Jones (1986) (Consent)

The CA said V's consent to rough and undisciplined play could provide a defence as long as there was no intention to cause injury - mere foresight of possible bruising (or even greater harm) was not sufficient.

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R v Johnson (1986) (Consent)

CA upheld conviction for causing GBH with Intent, and a sentence of 6 months imprisonment, imposed on a rugby player who bit another player's ear during a match between two police teams

(Beyond generally accepted standards of conduct!)

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R v Lloyd (1989) (Consent)

A rugby player who kicked another while he was lying on the ground, breaking his cheekbone, was convicted of causing GBH and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

(Again, Beyond generally accepted standards of conduct)

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R v Aitken (1992) (Consent)


A victim can give effective consent to the risk of accidental injury in the course of rough undisciplined play

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R v Clarence (1888) (Consent)

D knew, but his wife did not know, that he was suffering from gonorrhoea, he had sex with her, she contracted the disease too, and that, had she been aware of his condition, she would not have submitted to the intercourse.

Not Guilty decision is now douted by R v Dica

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R v Williams (1922) (Consent)

D was a singing teacher whose 16 year old pupil allowed him to have sex with her after he told her it would improve her singing voice.

D's conviction of **** was upheld on appeal; V had not consented to sexual intercourse because she did not know that was what D intended.

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Burrell v Harmer (1967) (Consent)

D was charged with ABH to 2 boys aged 12 and 13, by tattooing them.

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DPP v Smith (2006) (Consent)

Cutting a person's hair without their consent is ABH.

Held that "Hair is concerned with the body of the individual"

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R v Fotheringham (1989) (Consent)

A man D and his wife W went out for the evening leaving a 14-year old girl B babysitting; W told B she could sleep in the matrimonial bed. D came home drunk, got into the bed, and had sex with B without her consent, but stopped when W came in.

D was charged with ****, but had claimed that he had mistaken B for his consenting wife W. Dismissing the appeal, the CA said a mistake resulting from self-induced intoxification, could never be a defence to a charge of ****.

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