A more recent version of these Offences Against Person notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.
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V NON-FATAL OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON (1) a s s a u l t
b a t t e r y
V is assaulted if she apprehends the possibility of immediate violence - then inflicting this violence is battery. 'Battery' dispensed with and 'assault' now covers both apprehended and inflicted violence, however the pedantry returned in DPP v Little  where it was ruled that assault and battery must be charged as two separate offences. Lack of consent and disregard for V's autonomy is at the heart of assault this offence. Threshold of imminent violence is v low e.g. a touching which V would not consent to and is not a part of everyday life = assault. Conduct Element - In Fagan v MPC it was reiterated that assault must be an act, not an omission, but persisting with a previously lawful action that then becomes lawful = assault. Can be looking e.g. Smith v Superintendent of Working Police Station  where D trespassed into enclosed grounds and looked at V undressing through the window - she was terrified = assault. Ruled in Ireland  that silent telephone calls constituted assault if, inter alia, it caused V to apprehend immediate attack. Similarly in Constanza  it was ruled that written threats also constituted assault. To be guilty, D need not possess any intention to inflict violence on V, it is enough that he intentionally or recklessly causes V to apprehend immediate violence. Reviewed in Constanza that it was enough to prove "fear of violence at some time not excluding the near future". Conditional Threats - held in Blake v Barnard  that the words "shut up or I will blow your brains out" whilst holding a gun to someone's head does not constitute assault: V was able to negate the violence. Similar in Tuberville v Savage  where "were it not assize-time, I would not take such language" did not constitute a provocation.
3 Mental Element - D must intend that V should fear the possibility of immediate violence, or recklessly cause V to fear the possibility of immediate violence - Cunningham recklessness. Cunningham recklessness which asks: did the defendant foresee that the harm that in fact occurred, might occur from his actions, but nevertheless continued regardless of the risk?
Battery - infliction of violence on V by D; making contact with V in any fashion to which she has not consented or which is not a contact in keeping with the normal expectations of the relevant time and place. Scott v Shepherd illustrates it does not matter if a dangerous weapon e.g. grenade, is passed through panicked hands in a crowd after being thrown by D and blowing up V. Can include setting traps/causing crushing by inciting panic - can be direct and indirect. Requires an act but the normal rules on omissions apply e.g. SanatanaBermudez  where D failed to inform a policeman of the needle in his pocket which then pricked V, as D created the dangerous situation, he has committed battery. In Ireland it was ruled that psychiatric harm inflicted via silent phone calls did not constitute battery. Held in DPP v K  that putting acid into a hand-dryer causing it to burn V constituted an indirect battery. Held in Brown  that the contact required for battery had to be 'hostile'; a function of attitude/motivation e.g. a hand laid on V's shoulder as a show of support is different from violent clutches. Lord Goff criticised the hostility requirement as "too vague and restrictive" Mental Element - D must intend to inflict unlawful violence, or recklessly inflict violence - Cunningham recklessness, subject to the Majewski exception for intoxication. Collins v Wilcock  A police woman took hold of a woman's arm to stop her walking off when she was questioning her. The woman scratched the police woman and was charged with assaulting a police officer in the course of her duty. Held: The police woman's actions amounted to a battery. The defendant's action was therefore in self defence and her conviction was quashed.
a s s a u l t
o c c a s i o n i n g
3 A B H
s.47 of the OAPA 1861 "whosoever shall be convicted upon any indictment of any assault occasioning actual bodily harm shall be liable to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding 5 years" Assault encompasses pure assault and battery, pure assault can lead to harm e.g. Lewis  where a frightened V was injured when escaping D's threatened violence. Cannot expect frightened people to take measured responses e.g. Roberts  where V jumped out of a moving car in order to escape V - not so daft as to be unforeseeable. Harm must be more than 'transient or trifling' - ABH can include a 'hysterical or nervous condition', asserted in Chan-Fook  that s.47 includes non-physical harm. However, mere fright will not suffice (this is pure assault). Mens rea is the same for assualt/battery; don't need mens rea for the harm - constructive offence.
m a l i c i o u s l y w o u n d i n g i n f l i c t i n g G B H
s.20 of the OAPA 1861 "whosoever shall unlawfully or maliciously wound or inflict grievous bodily harm upon any other person... shall be guilty of an offence, and being convicted thereof shall be liable...to imprisonment not exceeding 5 years" Wounding defined in C v Eisenhower  as the continuity of the whole skin is broken; excludes internal ruptures/wounds; can be minor e.g. pin prick, in Metheram  the phrase 'really serious harm' was thought best to express GBH. In Grundy  it was explained that the totality of injuries must be considered; and far less would be required to seriously injure a child explained in Bollom
. Psychiatric harm constituted GBH in Burstow as did HIV transmission in Dica . Suggested that new legislation be introduced to police psychiatric harm rather than relying on 19th century laws of physical harm.
Actus Reus - is there a difference between inflict and cause? No, Ireland &
Burstow suggested that we shouldn't pay too much attention to the wording, there is v little difference between inflict and cause. The idea of needing a direct infliction of force was rejected in Wilson  and Cartledge v Allen  where V put his arm through a glass door trying to escape D. If we upheld the idea of 'infliction of force', there would be few remedies for serious psychiatric harm/transmission of HIV. Lord Hope recognised no practical difference between inflict/cause in Ireland & Burstow - they are not synonymous but v little difference. Mens Rea - malice = intention or Cunningham recklessness. However, the foresight is not of GBH, but of some, even minor, bodily harm - affirmed in Mowatt  and Savage v Parmenter.
w o u n d i n g o r c a u s i n g w i t h i n t e n t
G B H
s.18 of the OAPA 1861 "wound or cause GBH to any other person...with intent...to do some...GBH to any person, or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of any person, shall be guilty of an offence...[and]
shall be liable...to imprisonment for life" Four specific modes of commission: i. unlawfully and maliciously wounding, with intent to do GBH ii. unlawfully and maliciously wounding, with intent to resist/prevent the lawful detention of any person iii. unlawfully and maliciously causing GBH, with intent to do GBH iv. unlawfully and maliciously causing GBH, with intent to resist/prevent the lawful detention of any person Mens rea - term 'maliciously' is redundant; if D intended GBH, she is guilty, varies with each above mode. For modes ii. and iv. D must intend to resist arrest. In modes i. and iii. direct intent is required. For recklessness, D must foresee wounding or GBH: not a constructive offence.
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