A2 Law - Defences - Consent

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  • Created by: Sarah
  • Created on: 12-10-11 09:39


In the case of R v Brown, the House of Lords confirmed that in respect of the non-fatal offences, consent can be raised as a defence to assault and battery, and may only be raised as a defence to a section 47, 20 or 18 offence in certain circumstances. Consent can never be a defence to murder (Dianne Pretty).

The Attorney-General's reference (No. 6) (1981) sets out where the defence of consent may be raised. These are considered as the recognised exceptions.

When offences are committed during sporting activities involving physical contact, e.g. judo and rugby, the players are deemed to have consented to injuries sustained while acting within the rules of the game, i.e. they have given implied consent. In Barnes, the V suffered a leg injury during an amateur football match. The Court of Appeal held that in contact sports a person should only be convicted when the behaviour is "sufficiently grave" to be deemed criminal. In R v Johnson the offence (biting the V's ear) was deemed criminal, and the D was convicted of a section 18 offence.

When offences are committed while indulging in rough horseplay, the defence of consent may succeed. This is illustrated in R v Jones where a gang of school boys threw the V into the air, resulting in a ruptured spleen and broken arm. The defence of consent was allowed because this was deemed as horseplay. R v Aitken confirmed that consent may be a defence when there is mistaken belief that consent was given. R v


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