Law Non-Fatal Offences

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  • Created on: 10-04-13 14:02

Assault part 1

Assault - To commit this offence the D must intentionally or recklessly cause another person to apprehend the infliction of immediate unlawful violence.

Actus reus, this is any act which causes V to apprehend an immediate infliction of unlawful violence;

  • Causing V to apprenhend violence
  • Immediate violence
  • Unlawful violence

1. Causing V to apprehend violence. There need be no physical force for the actus reus to exist e.g. a threat. There can be no assault possible if it if impossible to carry out your threat, e.g. if the person is in prison. Even if D intends his actions as a joke he will still have the actus reus if he frightens V by causing him to fear unlawful violence. Logdon 1976- The D showed the V a replica gun, he told her she would remain a prisonner until she repayed the money she owed. Logdon then said it was a joke but he still had the AR. Words alone can constitute an assault, if they cause V to fear immediate unlawful violence. Constanza 1997 The D wanted a relationship with the V he sent her more than 800 letter, he made lots of phone calls he wrote on her door and spent his evenings watching her or her house, this caused V depression and anxiety. The Judge said this lead her to apprehend violence.

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Assault part 2

Silence can constitute an assault, if it cause V to fear immediate unlawful violence. Ireland 1998- D made a large number of phone calls which he was silent which caused psychological damage to the V. Words can also prevent an act from being an assault, if they inidicate that there will be no immediate unlawful violence. Turberville v Savage 1669- The D put his hand on his sword, he then said if this were not assize time I would not take such language from you, he is saying he cant assult him because there were soldiers around. Negative of the act. A conditional threat can still constitutean assault. Read v Coker 1853- D threatened the V with violence, if he didnt leave the pub. he didnt need to carry out the threat, because the V left, but the Judge said a conditional threat is still an assault because of the threat.

2. The violence threatened must be immediate, this means as part of the current activity, with the fear occuring immediately. The courts have often been flexible about how they interpret immediacy. Smith v Chief Superintendent of Woking 1983 The V sees the D standing in her garden staring through the window he is a known burglar, she becomes frightened. The D claimed her fear was not of immediate violence because it would have taken him 20 minutes to break in through the window. Therefore no immediate violence. The court said it was enough for her to fear immediate violence, you expect her to make precise analysis.

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Assault part 3

3. The violence fearedmust be unlawful. It is not a criminal offence for a police officer to threaten to handcuff someone if they don't co operate during an arrest.

Mens rea

An intention to cause V to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence or recklessness whether such apprhension is caused. Savage 1991- D says to the V nice to meet you darling and goes to throw a contents of a glass at her but the glass slips and cuts the victim. Either intent or recklessness.

For direct intent- cases are Mohan or Calhaem

For indirect intent - case is Woollin

For recklessness - case is Cunningham

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Battery part 1

Battery consists of an act by which D intentionally or recklessly applies physical force to another another person.

Actus reus- the actus reus of battery is the application of unlawful physical force to another person. Any physical force can amount to battery. No harm or pain ir required- the merest touch will suffice e.g. standing on someones foot. In Thomas 1985 the court decided that a school cartaker rubbing a 12 year old girls skirt was guilty of battery.

The force must be unlawful so if the person 'touched' is consenting then it will not be a battery. In Collins v Wilcock the police officier unlawfully grabbed the girl by the arm to stop her from walking away.

The force can only be applied by an act and not by an omission. This is why Fagan 1969 the court established liability via a continuing act of parking on the police officers foot, rather his failure to move the car after he knew. It is possible to apply force indirectly. Khan 1990 D was in a chemistry lesson left with some acid with him, is then scared so pours the acid in the hand dryer in the upward position the next peron to use the hand dryer looses his eyesight - indirect battery. However, in Ireland 1997 silent phone which lead to psychiatric injury wre said not to be a battery .

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Battery part 2

Mens rea

This is when intentionally or recklessly applies unlawful force to another.  In Venna 1976- D resiting arrest, lies on the floor kicking his legs,there is a risk he injures a Police offcier with unlawful force.

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Actual Bodily Harm part 1

ABH - s47 of the Offences Against the person Act 1861 provides that 'whosoever shall be convicted upon an indictment of any assault occasionaing actual bodily harm shall be liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

Actus Reus - the actus reus is an assault or battery which leads to ABH. The assault or battery can cause the abh directly or indirectly. Khan 1990.

For s47 to apply the victim must suffer actual bodily harm. In Miller 1954 this is defined as 'any hurt or injury calculated to interfere with the health or comfort of V; such hurt does not have to be permanent but must be morethen transient and trifling.'

In Chan-Fook 1994 it was said to include 'injury that was not so trivial as to be wholly.'

This level of harm covers many physical injuries such as brusies, scratches, broken nose or finger, soreness and chaffing. It also includes psychiatric injury but not merec emotions such as fear, distress or panic. In T v DPP 2003 it was held that loss of conciousness even momentarily, was abh. The D chased V when V fell to the ground, D kicked him unconcious. Before deciding on the offence with which to charge D the prosecution will consult the CPS charging standards.

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Actual Bodily Harm part 2

Mens Rea- the mens rea is that for the assault or battery which forms the actus reus. There is no need for D to intend or be reckless as to harm suffered by V.

Roberts 1978- The V jumped out a car doing 20-40 mph she was a hitchiker and D had told her to undress and threatened her with violence if she didnt. She suffered injuries.

Savage 1991 - Look back at Battery

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S20 Grievous Bodily Harm or Wounding

GBH and Wounding- s20 of the Offences of the Persons Act 1861 provides that 'Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously wound or inflict any grievous bodily harm upon any other person, either with or without a weapon or instrument, shall be guilty os an offence triable either way, and being convicted thereof shall be liable to imprisonment for 5 years'.

Actus Reus- The offence has two aspects, D either inflicted GBH or wounded V. Inflicted is taken to mean the same as cause (Burstow 1998) and there is no specific signifiance of using a weapon. D can cause GBH directly or indirectly. Martin 1881- D locked the doors, turned the light off in a theatre and shouted fire. V's got crushed to death.

GBH is described as really serious harm (Smith 1961) and serious harm (Saunders 1985). Examples: broken bones, rupertured internal organs and serious psychological harm.

Dica 2004- D infected 2 women with HIV, he knew he was HIV positive and convinced them to have unprotected sex with him without warning them. He was convicted of GBH and got 8 years.

Ireland and Burstow 1998- D couldn't accept his relationship with a women ended he harassed her for 6 years, this continued in prison and caused her serious depression, he was guilty of GBH s20.

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S20 GBH or wounding part 2

Wounding means a cut or break in the continuity of the whole skin. A cut of internal skin such as the cheek is sufficient but internal bleeding, where there is no cut of the skin is not sufficient. Wounding is defined by JCC v Eisenhower 1983- D shot V with an airgun the pellet hit the V near the eye caused bruises near his eyebrow and fluid filling the front of the eye. D was charged with wounding however the court said no break in the continuity of the skin, therefore he wasnt guilty.

Mens Rea- The mens rea is defined by S20 OAPA 1861 as maliciously, which for this section of the act means that D intends to cause another person some harm, or is subjectively reckless as to whether he caused another person some harm. ln Mowatt (1967) Lord Diplock said there is no need to foresee that his act might cause GBH or wounding, simply that he foresaw some harm, albeit of a minor character. This was confirmed in R v Grimshaw.

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S18 GBH or Wounding

S18 of the Offences Against the Persons Act  1861 provides that ' Whoso ever shall unlawfully and maliciously by any means whatsoever wound or cause any grievous bodily harm to any person with intent to do some grievous bodily harm to any person or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of any person shall be guilty of an offence.

Actus Reus - The actus reus for S18 is the same as the actus reus for S20.

Mens Rea- The wounding or gbh must be done maliciously and with the specific intent to:

  • do some grievous bodily harm or;
  • resist or resist the lawful apprehension of arrest and in doing so was reckless as to whether some harm was caused.

The high level of mens rea, namely D's specific intent to do grievous bodily harm (unless he is resisting arrest), reflects the factthat this is a more serious offence than s20 and result in a max life sentence.

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