Trespass to the Person

Assault, Battery, False Imprisonment cases

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  • Created by: Laura
  • Created on: 13-06-11 20:00

Trespass to the Person

 

Assault

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Trespass to the Person

Definition: intentionally and directly causing C to fear unlawful force

 

It doesn't matter whether D intended to inflict force or not, as long as C feared they might...

Blake v Barnard

D pointed gun at C causing reasonable apprehension of imminent battery. D knew gun was unloaded but C was unaware BUT still assault as C feared harm.

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Trespass to the Person

 

Assault

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Trespass to the Person

- Assault requires some active behaviour - Innes v White

A policeman stood at a door barring C's entry. There was no idication of any potential harm and so there was no assault.

- Threatening behaviour can amount to an assault - Read v Coker

D's employees threatened to break C's neck as they rolled their sleeves up. This was threatening behaviour and so was an assault.

- Where an attempt of battery is prevented, there may still be an assault - Stephens v Myers

At a political meeting D tried to attack C but was prevented. There was still an assault as initially C could apprehend imminent personal danger.

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Assault

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Trespass to the Person

Words - the has been debate over whether words alone can amount to an assault

BUT words could originally prevent an assault - Tuberville v Savage

In argument, D handled sword and said 'if it were not Assize time I would not take such language' The words removed the immediacy of the threat, and so no assault

More recently, words and even silence could be an assault - R v Ireland, R v Burstow

Joint appeals to HL - victims suffered psychological harm as result of harassment e.g. stalking and silent phone calls. HL accepted that this could amount to an assault as it created fear of harm.

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Trespass to the Person

 

Battery

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Trespass to the Person

Definition: intentional and direct application of unlawful force

Intentional and direct - Letang v Cooper

D reversed over legs of woman sunbathing near car park, whilst no intention of harm there was direct harm. Held not battery but there was negligence

Direct force - Scott v Shepherd

D threw lighted firework into market which was then thrown on twice more. D still liable as started of chain of events.

Indirect but liability still imposed - Gibbons v Pepper

Horse whipped and bolted, running down C. D who whipped horse liable for C's injuries

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Trespass to the Person

 

Battery

Hostility

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Trespass to the Person

Hostility - fairly recent requirement (Cole v Turner)

Wilson v Pringle

13 year old boy suffered injuries when schoolfriend played practical joke. Court referred to Cole v Turner and held hostility to be requirement of battery, so there wasn't a battery

Collins v Wilcock

Police officer liable when she took hold of suspect's arm but didn't arrest her. Court held the appropriate test to be whether contact acceptable within conduct of ordinary daily life.

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Trespass to the Person

 

Battery and

Medical Treatment

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Trespass to the Person

Medical treatment depends on consent of patient except in emergencies.

Every human being of adult years and sound mind has right to determine what shall be done to them (Schloendorff)

Re F

Doctors of woman in mental institution applied to courts for compulsory sterilisation as other contraception was unacceptable. Treatment allowed as it was in best interests, although judge emphasised that in case of competent patients, treatment carried out without consent would be a battery.

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Trespass to the Person

 

Battery and

Medical Treatment

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Trespass to the Person

A competent adult can also refuse medical treatment, even where it would result in death, and to continue treatment after refusal would be a battery.

Re T

T was a jehovah's witness and refused blood transfusion on religious grounds. CA accepted the patient was delirious at time of refusal and acting under influence of her mother and so doctors were able to give her a blood transfusion as it was in her best interests.

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Trespass to the Person

 

Defences to

Assault & Battery

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Volenti non fit injuria (consent) - a doctor will be able to use volenti if they have consent from the patient for medical treatment

Chatterson and Gerson - patients reg lendered numb in op and she tried to claim battery as hadn't been informed of the risks. courts rejected claim as she had been informed in broad terms

Consent is also available for sporting injuries but only where the injury was caused within normal rules of the game

Simms v Leigh RFC - broken leg resulted from tackle, courts held as a professional rugby player he had accepted the normal risks of the activity

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Trespass to the Person

 

Defences to

Assault & Battery

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Necessity  - acting for the greater good

Airedale v Bland - Bland was in persistent vegitative state but could still breathe unassisted. the removal of his feeding tube was said to be in his best interests even though it would result in his death

Self-defence - person entitled to protect themself or property but the force used must be reasonable

Lane v Holloway  - when a man beat his neighbour after he had insulted his wife and he needed 18 stitches, it was held the attack was out of proportion to his neighbour's gestures and NOT reasonable force

Inevitable accident - if the alleged battery is beyond the control of D there will be no liability in trespass - Stanley v Powell

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Trespass to the Person

 

False

Imprisonment

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Trespass to the Person

D intentionally imposes total restraint on the liberty of C

If there is reasonable means for escape, there will be no claim...

Wright v Wilson - escape available even though involved trespass

Restraint must be direct...

Sayers v Harlow - woman locked in public loo, negligence rather than FI

Can occur without C being aware...

Meering v Graham White Aviation - c questionnained but didn't know 2 men were preventing his exit, still FI

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False

Imprisonment

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Trespass to the Person

No FI when C obliged to pay for release

Robinson v Balmain Ferry - No FI when C had entered wharf where he must pay a penny to get back out

Herd v Weardale Steel - No liability where employer has legitimate expectation employees will stay until end of shift

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Defences to

False Imprisonment

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Consent - when solicitor locked in cell with client

Mistaken Arrest - where officer acted reasonably given circumstances

Lawful arrest - police must have reasonable grounds to suspect, citizens must have actual knowledge of offence and must call police in reasonable time. arrest must be carried out with reasonable force

Treadaway - arrest not carried out with reasonable force - supported by medical negligence

White v WP Brown - held not lawful arrest when police not called for 15 minutes

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Comments

Smith E

These revision cards help confirm the difference between assault and battery in the criminal law context, from tort. The use of a red colour to highlight case names is a helpful touch.

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