Non-Fatal Offences

Consider the criminal libaility for the non-fatal offences studied in the following sets of circumstances.

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  • Created by: Chansa
  • Created on: 07-04-12 17:33

Non Fatal Offences Introduction

The main offences are set out in the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988

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ASSAULT: This is considered to be the most serious offence

-s39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988

There are two ways of committing this:



These are both common law offences, not defined in statute.

Collins v Wilcock (1984), Lord Goff ' assault is an act which causes another to apprehend the infliction of immediate force. Battery is the actual infliction of force'.

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Actus REUS

 Actus Reus of Assault:

-Any act which causes the victim to apprehend (fear) an immediate infliction of immediate unlawful force.

DPP v LODGON (1976)

Defendant, as a joke, pointed a gun at the victim, who was terrified until she was told that it was a replica. Court held:- The victim had apprehended immediate physical force.

The words or actions of the defendant must cause the victim to fear that force is going to be used against them.



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Actus Reus of BATTERY

This is the actual infliction of unlawful force. In Wilson v Pringle (1986), the Court of Appeal held that for a battery, the touching must be proved  to be a hostile touching, hostile in that it must be unfriendly and threatening.

Also, a battery must be committed through a continuing act.

Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commander (1969)

If the person consents to touching, then there is no battery. R v Slingsby (1995), the defendant and his wife took part in vigorous sexual activity. The victim had been cut and became infected. The court held that the defendant could not be liable, she did not consent to the touching.

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Mens REA of Battery and ASSAULT

The DEFENDANT must intend or be reckless as to causing fear and knowingly takes the risk of applying force.

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s47 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861

s47 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861

'whosoever shall be convicted on indictment of any assault causing actual bodily harm shall be liable'

---> Actus Reus

- A technical assault or battery which must CAUSE actual bodily harm

R v Miller (1954)- ABH was held to be any HURT or INJURY calculated to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim

In R v Constable (1997), the defendant was convicted after e had repeatedly followed the victim, sending her over 800 letters and this led to her being clinically ill. He was convicted under s47 of the OAPA 1861.


The mens rea is not laid down in statute but for a common assault, it is sufficient for a s47 offence - Intend or be reckless as to whether such hard would be caused

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s20 of OAPA 1861

s20 of the OAPA 1861 - Malicious wounding or Maliciously inflicted GBH

Actus REUS:

- Wounding OR inflicting GBH

A wound:- A cut or 'break-in' in the continuity of the whole skin

JCC v Eisenhower (1984)

- The victim was hit in the eye with a shotgun peret. He bled under the surface but it did not break into the skin, therefore it wasn't held to be a  WOUND

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In R v Dica (2004), Mr Dica was convicted of biolgical GBH after having unprotected sex with a woman knowing he had HIV.


The defendant must have intended to cause another person some harm or be reckless as to whether he suffers some harm.

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s18 of the OAPA 1861

s18 of the OAPA 1861:- Causing GBH with INTENT

Actus REUS:

Must cause wounding or GBH


Specific INTENT to cause GBH 


Maliciously RESIST or PREVENT the apprehension of any person.

s18;- 'Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously by any means whatsoever wound or cause any GBH to any person, with intent to do some GBH to any person, or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of any person, shall be guilty of an offence..'

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INTENTION must be proved: recklessness is not enough for the mens rea of s18

INTENTION to resist lawful arrest: the prosecution must prove 2 things for the mens rea of the offence.

- the defendant had a specific intention to resist or prevent lawful ARREST or DETENTION

- the defendant acted MALICIOUSLY in respect to the wounding or GBH

R v Morrison (1989)

The defendant was seized by a police officer. The police officer had told him that she was arresting him. The defendant then dived through a window pane, dragging the police officer through the glass, leading the police officer to suffer serious facial cuts.

Held:- s18 of the OAPA 1861 requires an unlawful and malicious wounding with intent to resist the unlawful apprehension of the person

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Thomas Hunton


Correction; assualt is the least serious of the offences outlined, in terms of available sentence, not the most serious as stated.



Thomas Hunton wrote:

Correction; assualt is the least serious of the offences outlined, in terms of available sentence, not the most serious as stated.


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