AS Criminal Law - Offences

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Assault

Identify - The defendant will be charged with a S.39 Common Assault under the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Definition - The definition of assault comes from Lord Goff in Collins v Wilcock; "an act causing the victim to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence"

Explain: Actus Reus - There are 3 actus reus for common assault; 

  • An Act - An act can be words, gestures, silence - R v Ireland, or even letters - R v Constanza.
  • Apprehension - The victim must apprehend for it to be an assault - R v Lamb - If there is not apprehension then it is not an assault.
  • Immediate - The violence threatened by the defendant must be immediate as viewed by the victim - Smith v Woking Police.

Explain: Mens Rea - The mens rea of an assault is the intention to cause the victim to apprehend immediate violence, or Cunningham subjective recklessness; seeing the risk of the victim apprehending immediate violence and taking it - R v Venna.

Battery

Identify - The defendant will be charged with a S.39 Batter under the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Definition - The definition of a battery comes from Lord Goff in Collins v Wilcock; "the application of unlawful force"

Explain: Actus Reus - The actus reus is committed when the defendant applies unlawful force. According to Lord Goff this doesn't include everyday touching, which is impliedly consented to. In Wilson v Pringle it was said that the touching should be hostile. It can even be indirectly applied e.g via a booby trap - R v Martin, or an escape attempt - R v Roberts.

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