Non-Fatal Essay

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  • Created by: EllieHS
  • Created on: 28-04-16 11:14

Consider the liability of Percy and John:

In the case of Percy punching the referee causing his nose to bleed it can be seen that punching qualifies as an act of unlawful force, therefore both battery (under s39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988) and Actual Bodily Harm (under s47 of the Offences Against the Person’s Act 1861) must be considered. Under s39 Battery the defendant (D) may directly or indirectly apply unlawful force to another under the precedent of Martin where D put an iron bar across the doorway of a theatre and switched the lights off, causing panic in the theatre. Many people were injured which was an indirect effect of the D’s actions. Therefore the act of punching the referee would qualify under battery as Percy applied unlawful force to the referee directly. Additionally, the actus reus of s47 is assault or battery causing an ABH level of harm which the case of Chan Fook describes as “not trivial as to be wholly insignificant, but not necessarily permanent injury which Percy fulfills by causing the referee’s nose to bleed – satisfying the actus reus of s47. The mens rea of s47 is the same as that of s39 assault and battery, with no additional mens rea required for the greater level of harm in this offence. This is seen in Roberts where the D appealed on the basis that the D had no additional mens rea for an ABH level of harm, this appeal was denied as there is no need for the D to intend or be reckless as to whether actual bodily harm is caused. Therefore Percy fulfills the mens rea of battery, the intentional or subjective recklessness as to the unlawful application of force to another; by intentionally punching the referee satisfies the mens rea for s47 ABH. Thus it can be held that Percy would be guilty of s47 battery occasioning ABH.

However, criminal liability is only viable where the defendant does not have a defence. Percy would claim the defences of intoxication, due to his taking of three amphetamine pills, and self-defence, due to his belief that the referee was attacking him. In the instance of an intoxication defence Percy would be unsuccessful because he was voluntarily intoxicated, this self-induced intoxication through the consumption of amphetamine pills is never a defence to a basic intent crime, such is s47 battery occasioning ABH. Additionally, under the rules placed by the case of Hardie, although the amphetamine pills had an adverse effect to what Percy had expected, the D in Hardie took the drugs to have a sedative effect. This does not apply to Percy because the drugs were taken to have a “buzzing” effect. Therefore Percy would be unsuccesful in the defence of intoxication.

Percy’s second defence of Self-Defence applies because Percy believes the referee is attacking him, therefore Percy used reasonable fordced in the defence of himself which is applicable under both the common law and statutory s3


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