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26 Cards in this Set

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An assault involves any conduct by D that, intentionally or recklessly, causes V to APPREHEND imminent unlawful personal violence.

Actus reus of assault

The legal definition does NOT require D to make any physical contact with V.

- satisfied as soon as D causes V to apprehend or believe that V is about to suffer some personal violence.

*Less concerned with the conduct of D and more concerned with the impact of V.

A) What do we mean by 'unlawful personal violence'? includes any non-consensual contact.

B) How imminent must V believe the violence will be? V must be caused to fear immediate or imminent unlawful person violence - therefore, for example, 'I will beat you up next month', does not constitute assault.

- Case authority = 'Constanza'.

C) Can the result be caused indirectly? Although D must cause V to apprehend imminent unlawful violence it is not necessary that such apprehension should involve violence FROM D.

D) Can the conduct element be satisfied by words alone, or by omission? Assault can be committed by omission.

- For example, V walks into the room and INTENTIONALLY omits to withdraw the threat by lowering the gun, then assault is likely to be found.

E) Can the threat be implied or conditional? for example, 'if the coin toss lands on heads then I will hit you' = threat causes V to apprehend imminent violence - acts reus satisfied.

- Only exception to this is where the communicated condition undermines ANY CHANCE of the threat being carried out e.g. D shouts to V 'I would hit you if you weren't already ugly'.

Mens Rea of Assault

Requires D to intend or be reckless as to causing the result.

- thus, for assault, D must intend or foresee the possibility that his act will cause V to apprehend imminent unlawful violence.

= established in 'Venna'.


Any conduct by which D, intentionally or recklessly, inflicts unlawful personal violence upon V.

Actus reds of battery

Consists of the infliction of unlawful personal violence.

A) Does the result require physical contact? Battery will ALWAYS require physical contact with V.

E.g. will be satisfied even if V is unaware of the touching as where V is asleep, and will include touching V's clothes = illustrated in 'Thomas'.

B) Can the result be caused indirectly? Although battery will always require physical contact with V, it is not essential that this contact should be DIRECTLY inflicted by D.

E.g. In DPP v K - D committed battery when he poured acid into a toilet hand-dryer, causing the next user to be sprayed.

C) Can the conduct element be satisfied by an omission? It is likely that the courts will find battery can be committed by omission = 'Santana-Bermudez v DPP'.

Mens Rea of battery

The mens rea of battery require that D intended or was subjectively reckless as to causing the result: the application of unlawful force to the body of V - established in 'Venna'.

Defences to assault and battery:

Lawful chastisement of children

Applied at common law to allow parents and teachers to use physical force to discipline children.

-Defence was codified within s58 of the Children Act 2004 (not a defence for anything more serious than assault or battery).

*Force used must be reasonable and propriety in the circumstance, and involve no cruelty.

Under section549(4) of the Education Act 1996, a member of staff now has no defence by virtue of her position as a teacher, to any offence against the person committed on a pupil by way of punishment.

Consent to assault or battery

Where D makes consensual contact with V, such as by taking V's hand, or consensually causes V to apprehend contact by D motioning towards shaking V's hand, we would not want to find liability of assault or battery.

A) V's consent must be expresses or implied to D in a legally recognised manner.

B) V's consent must be effective: V must have the capacity, freedom, and information required to make a choice.

Consent to assault or battery:

Expressed and/or implied consent

The notion of implied consent is particularly important to prevent the liability of touching which, although explicitly consented to, is part of everyday life.

e.g. jostled in a busy street or when entering a crowded train.

Limits to implied consent: 'Wood v DPP'

Consent to assault or battery:

Effective consent - Capacity

V may lack the capacity to consent for a variety of reasons, for example mental disorder or learning difficulties, infancy, or more temporary conditions such as intoxication.

- degree of capacity are likely to vary between individuals, over time, and in relation to the particular issue.

* Burrell v Harmer

Consent to assault or battery:

Effective consent - Informed Consent

Although V may have the capacity to consent to a particular action, she must also, logically, be told what that action entails before she can exercise her capacity and make a decision.

- the pro harm, the greater the knowledge required for the consent to be informed and valid.


courts clear distinction between (a) being informed as to the nature of the sexual intercourse (where there was effective consent), and (b) being informed as to the risk of HIV infection (no consent).

- where D alone is aware of a significant risk of harm in relation to a particular activity, such as sexual intercourse, if V is not informed of it then V's apparent consent to that additional risk will not be effective and thus legally invalid.

- the same will not follow where D is not fully aware of the risk he poses.

Consent to assault or battery:

Effective consent - Consent procured by fraud

V's apparent consent in two main areas: fraud as to the identity of D; and fraud as to the nature of the act consented to.

A) Fraud as to the identity of D: if D gains V's consent to being touched by impersonating X, V's consent to that touching (battery) is not legally effective - e.g. 'Richardson'.

B) Fraud as to the nature of D's conduct: capable of undermining otherwise effective consent as, for example, where D tells V that it is customary to greet someone by punching them in the face.

- Issue has also arisen in relation to consensual sexual intercourse where D does not inform her sexual partner of a known sexually transmitted infection; V is misled as to the nature of the associated risk of infection = D guilty of infliction GBH.

Consent to assault or battery:

Effective consent - Consent Procured through duress

V's apparent consent will not be effective if it is gained by threats (duress).

e.g. if D submits to a light beating only amounting to a battery in order to avoid a greater one.

- same even where D's threats were non-criminal.

Belief in consent to assault and battery

Even if V is not consenting, D will avoid liability if she genuinely believes that consent is present.

= 'Jones'.

Actus reus of s47

The acts refs of the s47 offence requires d to commit the acts refs of assault or battery, with the additional result that V suffers ABH.

Actus reds of s47:

The result element of bodily harm

ABH is not defined in the OAPA, Courts have attempted to interpret it in line with its common meaning; for example, scratches, grazes and abrasions; bruising and swelling; temporary loss of consciousness; cutting a substantial amount of hair; psychiatric injury.

- As in case of 'Ireland and Barstow' - ABH has been extended to psychiatric injury.

Mens Rea of s47

D must intend to cause or be reckless as to causing V to apprehend and imminent violence (assault) or intend to make or be reckless as to making contact with V (battery).

- lack of mens rea requirement as to causing ABH was established in 'Roberts'.

Actus reus of s20 - Wounding

In order to constitute a wound, V's skin must be broken, for example stabbing.

* First, the whole skin (every layer) must be broken - for example, a scratch chaat break the 'surface of the skin' but not every layer will not amount to a wound - i.e. needs to bleed.

*Secondly, wounding cannot be purely internal. E.g. in 'Wood', broke V's collarbone, but skin remained intact, there was no wound.

Actus reds of s20 - Inflicting grievous bodily harm

V's injuries must be more serious than ABH: 'bodily harm'.

- this should not be overstated, it is clear that GBH does not require injury to be permanent or life-threatening.

As with s20 offence requires D to 'inflict' rather that simply 'cause' it.

Mens rea of s20

D must be acting 'maliciously' - interpreted to mean 'intentionally or recklessly'.

- liability merely requires D to intend or foresee that some bodily harm might be caused, not necessarily amounting to a wound or GBH.

Actus reus of s18

D's conduct must have caused V to suffer either a wound and/ or GBH.

- there is no need to demonstrate that the elements of assault or battery are also present.

Mens rea of s18

D must have acted with the intention to cause GBH to nay person or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension of any person.

*unlike of OAP, the mens rea of s18 is only satisfied by an INTENTION (recklessness is not sufficient).

*As held in 'Taylor' an intention to wound is not sufficient mens rea for s18.

Consent to the more serious offences against the person

Consent can be a valid defence to offences under s47, 20 or 18.

A) V's consent must be expressed or implied to D in a legally recognised manner.

B) V's consent must be effective

C) The conduct and harms consented to must come within a recognised category.

- Case where not = Brown.

Consent - Body Modification

Validly consented to e.g. hair cutting, piercing, tattooing etc.

- There are borderline cases, for example, 'Wilson'.

Consent - Sports

Various sports, provide a clear social utility despite the high risk of bodily injury involved in them, for example, rugby, roller derby etc.

- generally the law will recognise V's consent to any conduct that comes within those rules: consent that will be implied from V's agreement to play.

*Secondly, we must question the extent to which V's consent and the law's recognition of that consent is interpreted to include OUTSIDE the rules of the sport.

e.g. Barnes.

Consent - Horseplay

Recognised consent in relation to general undisciplined play.

- 'Aitken'.