Defence of Consent cases

Cases relating to the defence of consent.

Topic it relates to is in brackets.

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  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 04-06-12 17:39

Pretty v DPP (Euthanasia)

Pretty had motor neuron disease and wanted her husband to assist her suicide.

Took case to ECHR (European Court of Human Rights).

Claimed offence of assisted suicide was against human rights.

ECHR dismissed her appeal.

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Purdy (Euthanasia)

Purdy had MS.

Wanted help to travel to another country where assisted suicide legal.

Wanted to find out if husband would be prosecuted for helping her.

She sought judicial review.

Lords accepted her arguments.

Lords asked DPP to clarify in which circumstances prosecution would be held under S2 of the Suicide Act.

Assisting suicide still unlawful, but now discretion as to whether to prosecute.

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Re B (refusal of medical treatment)

B had become tetraplegic (paralysis of limbs) and no longer wished to be alive through artificial ventilation.

Asked for ventilation to be stopped.

Doctors were unwilling.

B sought and obtained a declaration from the court that the hospital was acting unlawfully.

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Burrell v Harmer (real consent, relevant to childr

D convicted of ABH on 2 children aged 12 and 13.

Had given both tattoos which had got inflamed and painful.

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Richardson (consent obtained by fraud of identity)

Dentist struck off.

Continued treating patients who were unaware D had been struck off.

Conviction quashed as D did not lie about identity.

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Tabassum (contained obtained by fraud of nature an

D pretended to be a doctor.

Went around hospital cubicles examining women's breasts.


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Dica (Doctrine of informed consent)

D diagnosed with HIV.

Had unprotected consented sex with two women.

They said they would not have consented if they knew he had HIV.

Charged with 'biological GBH' S20 of Offences Against the Person Act 1861.


Appeal allowed as issue of consent.

Retrial and convicted again by jury.

7 of 17

Konzani (Doctrine of informed consent)

Inflicted 'biological GBH' on three women.


Appeal not allowed.

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Collins v Wilcock (consenting to assault and batte

A police woman took hold of D's arm to stop her walking off during questioning.

D scratched the police officer.

D charged with assault of a police officer in her course of duty.

It was held the police woman's actions were battery.

Therefore D was acting in self-defence as she has not consented to the battery.

Conviction quashed.

9 of 17

A-Gs Reference (No 6 of 1980) (1981) (consenting t

D aged 18 and V aged 17 quarrelled.

They agreed to settle their difference by fighting in the street.


Lord Lane CJ: 

'It was not in the public interest that people should try to cause or should cause each other actual bodily harm for no good reason.Minor struggles are another matter' 

D not found guilty, but would be now.

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Billinghurst (contact sports consent)

D punched and opponent in the face in an off ball incident during a rugby match.

Fractured V's jaw.

Held to be S20 GBH.

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Barnes (contact sports consent)

D performed a late tackle in football.

Injured other player.

Convicted of S20 GBH.

12 of 17

Jones and others (horseplay)

D and others (all schoolboys) tossed two boys into the air for 'birthday bumps'.

One suffered a ruptured spleen, the other a broken arm.

Not guilty of GBH.

13 of 17

Aitken and others (horseplay)

D's RAF party.

All had been drinking.

Some horseplay which was treated as a joke.

D's set fir to V's fire resistant suit.

V, in his drunken state, could only resist weakly.

Tried to put out fire but caused serious injury to V.

Not guilty as was consented.

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Wilson (tattooing and branding)

D's wife consented to branding.

D charged with GBH.

Appeal allowed as she consented and similar to tattooing.

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Slingsby (sexual activity)

D and V were partaking in rough sexual activity.

D accidentally cut V with his signet ring in her vagina/rectum resulting in an infection.

V died.

D acquitted as V fully consented and injury was unforeseeable.

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Brown (Sado-masochism)

Group of D's engaged in homosexual sado-masochism with eachother.

All consented.

All guilty of ABH, three of wounding.

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