The ladder of offences

How many violent incidents were there last year?
1.3 million violent incidents in year ending June 2018 (a relatively static figure which has been around a decade long train)
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What is the ladder of offences?
Common Assault, Battery, Actual Bodily Harm, Grievous Bodily Harm
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What does the ladder show?
seriousness of injury and Ds mental state
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Assault: has no statutory definition
AR: causing V to apprehend imminent unlawful force. MR: D intends or is reckless that V will apprehend imminent unlawful force
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can words constitute an assault? R v Ireland [1997]
A man made calls to women, saying nothing but breathing heavily down the phone which psychologically damaged the women. Court said 'A thing said is a thing done' 'Silent phone call is as capable as words or gestures causing immediate unlawful violenc
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What is meant by 'immediate' violence?
R v Horseferry Road Magistrates ex parte Sia... 'immediate doesn't mean instantaneous' Courts held that in R v Ireland, fear of caller's arrival at door was imminent. They feared the possibility of immediate personal violence
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DPP v Ramos [2000]
Racially motivated threats sent to South London organisation 5 days after Brixton nail bomb
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What did this result in?
Actual fact of danger less important than V’s subjective impression, but it is important to distinguish between a fear of imminent force and an imminent fear that there might be harm in the future.
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What is the actus reus and mens reas of Battery?
AR- D applied force to the victim. MR- D intended or was reckless as to touching or applying force to victim (R v Venna [1975]) D (youth) struggled and broke hand of policeman, was held he had intention or recklessness as to apprehension
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can indirect touching be a battery?
yes- in DPP v Haystead [2000] D punched former GF causing her to drop child. force does not have to be “directly inflicted” as long as it is applied “through a medium controlled by the [D]”.
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What happens in Collins v Wilcock [1984]
policeman grabbed woman as she walked away, court found that everyday touching can't amount to a battery- this would lead to mass criminalisation. BUT grabbing someone's arm is over and above, so he had committed battery
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Actual Bodily Harm
s.47 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 “Whosoever shall be convicted upon an indictment of any assault occasioning actual bodily harm shall be liable…to a term not exceeding five years…”
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There is only one offence of ABH, known as an aggravated offence
AR- D must have committed an assault or battery which caused V to suffer ABH. MR- Intent or foresight of the common assault or battery. R v. Savage [1992]
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What does ABH mean?
R v Donovan [1934] 2 KB 498: not necessarily permanent, but more than merely ‘transient and trifling’ harm. R v Chan Fook [1994] 2 All ER 552: ‘harm’ = ‘injury’
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DPP vSmith [2006]
CA held that cutting off the hair of someone else is ABH since it has an integral role in our sense of belonging
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What do CPS say is ABH
Use of weapon, more than minor injury, serious violence is caused, V is impaired for a period of time, not permanently
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Grievous Bodily Harm
s.18, ‘Causing’ GBH’ “Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously by any means whatsoever wound or cause any grievous bodily harm to any person. . .” s.20, ‘Inflicting’ GBH “Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously wound or inflict any grievous bodi
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Would this suggest there is a different between causing and inflicting GBH?
s.20, inflicting/ malicious wounding- MR- D intends or sees that V might suffer some harm, Cunningham recklessness. They don't have to foresee the level of harm that is actually suffered
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DPP v Parmenter [1992] 1 AC 699: confirmed test of subjective recklessness
DPP v A [2001] Crim LR 140: only need to foresee that harm might occur (Cunningham recklessness )
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What is AR of GBH?
C (a minor) v Eisenhower [1984] QB 331 D shot V with an air pistol in the eye, causing a rupturing of blood vessels. Held: need a break in the continuity of the skin
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THEREFORE, was held, court said to wound you need to have a break in the continuity of the skin
the definition of wound may encompass injuries that are relatively minor in nature, e.g. a small cut
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R v Bollom [2003]- people babysitting a child who ends up getting injured, judge asked if these facts would constitute GBH, since he was 17 months old
therefore, harm is judged objectively, but in the subjective context of the individual's vulnerabilities
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R v Birmingham [2002]
Account taken of the totality of injuries on V to determine extent of harm
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R v Burstow [1997]
Psychiatric injury can amount to GBH, can only be inflicted, can't be caused
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R v Wilson [1984] AC 242: Inflict does not necessarily involve assault or battery, just that D’s voluntary actions “directly result” in GBH.
g
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s.18: Causing BGH/wounding with intent- this is more serious and can carry life sentence
Can be caused by omission, but can't be inflicted by omission, The person must have intention to do GBH or to resist or present arrest
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What are the issues with this legislation?
it is a Victorian piece of legislation from 1861- grounded in Victorian times. We know we have a ladder of offences but don't know where the boundaries are- lacks certainty
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In 2015 Law commission carried out study against offences against the person
said it was outdated and boundaries needed to be clearer
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Card 2

Front

What is the ladder of offences?

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Common Assault, Battery, Actual Bodily Harm, Grievous Bodily Harm

Card 3

Front

What does the ladder show?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Assault: has no statutory definition

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

can words constitute an assault? R v Ireland [1997]

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Preview of the front of card 5
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