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R v Tabassum

[2000] Crim LR 686

Case summary last updated at 14/01/2020 20:02 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Tabassum

A man was compiling a database for GPs and asked to touch women’s breasts to show them how to perform breast cancer checks. It wasn’t sexually motivated. He had no medical qualifications and the women said that they wouldn’t have consented to examinations if they had known this. CA upheld his conviction for indecent assault. This was distinguished from Richardson because that related to the identity of the person and this related to the nature of the act (indecent touching rather than medical examination). It uses Flattery as precedent in that the act was sexual rather than medical and D deceived Vs as to the nature of the act. This just shows the flimsiness of the person-nature distinction, since this case could equally be decided on the basis of the person: there was no suggestion of sexual intent here, so that, like in Richardson, it was qualifications which could either negative or allow consent. In neither case did Vs object to the act, but to the status of the person doing it. Thus the CA in Tabassum were wrong to place this with the “nature” category, which includes cases of misunderstanding the actual act occurring e.g. Flattery and Williams 

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