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Ireland and Burstow

[1997] 3 WLR 534

Case summary last updated at 13/01/2020 16:56 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Ireland and Burstow

 A man harassed a former partner by making threatening calls, appearing at her place of work, photographing her family etc, causing her severe depression. He pleaded guilty to GBH and then appealed, but his appeal was dismissed The same was the case where he had made silent phone calls and other threatening attacks against several other women causing lesser psychological illness, and pleaded guilty to occasioning actual bodily harm. HL dismissed appeals, saying that psychiatric illness did constitute GBH and actual bodily harm (Lord Steyn). Steyn also said that where immediacy was a question, it would have to be addressed on the basis of each case, but that silent phone calls DID satisfy the immediacy requirement, because fear may be created of an imminent attack, even though there may be little evidence to suggest this: THIS IS VERY BROAD. Finally, he said that to “inflict” did not require a physical attack, since psychiatric illness could be instigated by harassment, stalking etc. “[A]n assault is any act by which a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence.”- definition by Lord Hope. 

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