Offences against the person - Assault

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  • Created by: Max_
  • Created on: 02-02-16 08:44

Common Assault

Common Assault

The word Assault has two meanings the general term for a physical attack on another person;  the second is a specific type of offence.Common Assault is the lowest offence against a person, it isn't defined in any statute and has been built up through cases and judge made law. It's split into two, 

  • Assault 
  • Battery
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Actus Reus of assault

Definition of AssaultTo commit this offence the defendant must intentionally or subjectibely recklessly cause another person to fear immediate unlawful personal violence. This was set out in the case of Fagen and reinforced in the case of Ireland

Actus Reus of Assault: The actus reus of assault requires some action or words. There is no need for physical contact. The actus reus is completed when the defendant does any act or says something which causes the victim to believe that unlawful force is about to be used against him. This could include 

  • Raising a fist towards someone
  • Throwing a stone at the victim which just misses
  • Pointing a loaded gun at someone in range
  • Saying something like, "i'm going to hit you
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Mens Rea of assault

Mens Rea

If assault is defined by "an act which a person comitts intentionally or recklessly to apprehend immediate ahnd unlawful violence".

The Mens Rea here is "intentionally or recklessly". The guilty mind behind the act.

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The Actus Reus continued

Actus Reus - Continued

  • Has to be an act not an omission 
  • Words alone are sufficient (R v Constanza)
  • Silence can be enough (R v Ireland)
  • Words can negate the original threat (Tuberville V Savage)
  • The victim must apprehend or expect (R v Logdon)
  • The crime does not have to be instantaneous (Smith and Woking police station)
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