Evaluation of non fatal offences notes
Law commission pointed out three main problems with OAPA 1861
- Complicated words, eg. Grevious and Maliciously. Very obscure
- The structure of the act is very complicated
- Non-lawyers find it difficult the entire act very difficult to comprehend
It is important to note, however, that some of these issues have been resolved by the judge in case decisions. Take the term "inflict", for instance; in s 20 it is unclear whether a technical assault had to occour. R V BURTSOW resolved this, as the House of Lords ruled that it did not. The meaning of "bodily harm" has also been extended to include mental health, thus allowing defendants causing such harm to be convicted.
- Inconsistency between offences is a big problem in terms of the required mens rea. Section 47 is particularly injust, as D need not realise or intend any harm. Also, the fact that a smak cut can result in a S 20 charge is a little unfair; the law should take into account the different levels of wounding. Also, R V MORRISON asks whether it is fair that someone can be charged with a S 18 offence when merely resisting arrest.
- There are issues with sentencing; The mens rea for assault/battery and S 47 are the same, yet the…