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Criminal | Offences Against The Person

Non-Fatal Offences: Assault Liability

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Assault: Liability

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  • Common assault / lowest level offence against the person
  • Not defined in statute / evolved through case law
  • Maximum prison 6 months / summary offence (s39 Criminal Justice Act 1988)

Actus reus:

  • D causes V to apprehend immediate & unlawful violence
  • No need for physical contact / emphasis on what V thought or feared
  • D pointed replica gun at V / joke / V terrified / held V apprehended immediate violence / D was reckless (Logdon)
  • D entered garden / looked through window / V feared D about to enter room / held assault / despite locked window (Smith v Chief Superintendent of Woking Police)
  • D terrorised V / silent phone calls / caused psychiatric injury (Ireland)
  • Liberal approach interpreting immediate / to give justice to V
  • .. when one is in a state of terror, one is very often unable to analyse precisely what one is frightened of as likely to happen next... (Smith v Chief Superintendent of Woking Police)
  • Immediacy in phone calls / V fear calls were to establish if at home (Ireland)
  • Letters read as threats can be sufficient (Constanza)

Mens rea:

  • ..intention to cause the victim to apprehend unlawful and immediate violence or reckless whether such an apprehension be caused... (Savage)
  • Either direct or oblique intent / or subjective recklessness (as defined in Cunningham)
bits of law
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