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Cases - assaults - non-contact

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Arobieke, R v [1988] CA

Chan-Fook, R v (1994) CA
Constanza, R v [1997] CA
Day, R v (1845) Parke B
K, DPP v (1990) QBD
Dume, R v (1986) CA
Fagan v MPC (1969) QBD
Halliday, R v (1889) CCR
Haystead v DPP [2000] QBD
Ireland, Burstow, R v (1988 HL
Lewis, R v [1977]
Logdon v DPP [1976] QBD
Mackie, R v (1973) CA

Marjoram, R v (1999) CA
Martin, R v (1881) CCR
Mitchell, R v [1983] CA
Morrison, R v (1989) CA
Pitts, R v (1842)
Re J (Prohibited steps order: circumcision) (1999) CA
Read v Coker (1853) CP
Richardson & Irwin [1999] CA
Richardson, R v (1999)
Roberts, R v (1971) CA
Santana-Bermudez, DPP v (2003) DC
Smith v Superintendent of Woking Police Station (1983) QBD
Stephens v Myers (1830) CA
Thomas, R v (1985) CA
Turberville v Savage (1669)
Wilson, R v [1955] CCA

 

Arobieke, R v [1988] CA

 

 

 

Appeal here

 

 

 

 

R v Arobieke [1988]

[Manslaughter - unlawful act - act must be criminal, tort is not enough]
D went to a railway station looking for V there had been animosity between the two of them.  There was evidence that V feared serious violence if D found him.  V left his train and was electrocuted trying to cross the tracks.  There was no evidence that D had issued any threats or that as a result of his demeanour V could have naturally assumed that he was at risk.

 

Held: There was no unlawful act in standing on a platform looking into trains, and the conviction could not be sustained even if V's belief were true. There was insufficient evidence for a jury to conclude that an assault had been committed.

 

Not Guilty

Also here

Comment: Akinwale Arobieke had a long criminal history of indecent assaults on other males threats to kill and harassment. A court ban on "touching muscles" of men was lifted in 2007.  He is associated with an urban legend of "Purple Aki", a bogeyman figure in the Liverpool area.

Chan-Fook, R v (1994) CA

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

R v Chan-Fook (1994)

 

^[ABH - include psychiatric harm but not emotions – escape case]

D subjected V to questioning about the theft of a ring belonging to D’s fiancée. D then dragged V upstairs to a room and locked him in. V feared D’s return and injured himself when he fell through a window.

 

Held: ‘Actual bodily harm ‘; includes psychiatric injury but does not include emotions, such as fear or panic. ABH does not include states of mind that are not themselves evidence of some identifiable clinical condition. Only expert evidence to this effect should be made to the jury regarding psychiatric injury.

 

Per curiam: the phrase ‘state of mind’ is unscientific, confusing and should be avoided when considering whether psychiatric injury has been caused.

 

Not Guilty

Constanza, R v [1997] CA

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

 

R v Constanza [1997]

^[Assault - Sec 47 - actus - sufficient psychological damage from fear of violence]

D wished to form a relationship with V who did not reciprocate. D followed V sent her more than 800 letters, telephoned her on numerous occasions, only speaking sometimes, watched her house from his car and wrote on her door. V suffered from a clinical state of depression and anxiety.

 

Held: It was not essential that the victim was able to see the potential perpetrator of the violence. Conduct accompanying words was capable of making the words an assault. The fear was of violence sufficiently immediate to be described as the fear of immediate violence.

 

Guilty

Day, R v (1845) Parke B

 

R v Day (1845)

[Assault - slashing clothes on person is an assault]

D slashed P’s clothes with a knife.

 

Held: it is an assault on a man’s person to inflict injury to the clothes on his back. In the ordinary case of a blow on the back there is clearly an assault, even though the blow is received by the coat on the person.

 

Guilty

DPP v K (1990) QBD

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

[ABH - harm caused indirectly – indirect force]
D placed acid in a hot air drier to hide it from his teachers. V then used the drier and the acid caused burns on his face.

 

Held: Parker LJ: D had

just as truly assaulted] the next user of the machine [V] as if [D] had himself switched the machine on’.

If the charge was simply battery, it is not necessary to prove harm.

 

Guilty of ABH

Dume, R v (1986) CA

 

R v Dume (1986)

[Assault – malicious wounding – mens rea need be proximate to injury – indirect force]

D maliciously wounded a police officer by releasing his dog and told it to "kill that man". The dog went up to P, knocked him over, and bit him on the leg. D argued that the dog’s act was the result of its natural exuberance.

 

Held: the a charge of malicious wounding might in principle be appropriate in such a case, there is a need to find some act of the defendant, committed with the necessary mens rea, that had been the proximate cause of V’s injury.

 

Not Guilty

Fagan v MPC (1969) QBD

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

^[Assault - definition - apprehension of immediate force -contemporaneity of actus and mens - battery - inflicting unlawful personal violence - intentionally or recklessly – indirect force]
D was directed by a policeman to park his car. D accidentally drove his car on the policeman’s foot. The PC let him know what he had done and asked him to move off his foot. D then refused to move off the PC’s foot.

 

Held: An assault is any act which intentionally or possibly recklessly causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful personal violence. 

 

James: 

‘A mere omission to act cannot amount to an assault.’ 

 

‘For an assault to be committed both the elements of actus reus and mens rea must be present at the same time.’ 

‘It is not necessary that mens rea should be present at the inception of the actus reus; it can be superimposed upon an existing act.’ 

 

‘On the other hand, the subsequent inception of mens rea cannot convert an act which has been complete without mens rea into an assault.’

 

Where an assault involved a battery, it matters not whether the battery is inflicted directly by the body of the offender or through the medium of some weapon or instrument controlled by the action of the offender. To constitute this offence, some intentional act must have been performed; a mere omission to act cannot amount to an assault.

If the act, as distinct from the results thereof, is a continuing act, there is a continuing threat to inflict unlawful force. If the assault involves a battery and that battery continues, there is a continuing act of assault.

 

Guilty

Halliday, R v (1889) CCR

 

R v Halliday (1889)

[Assault – Sec 20 – escape case – mens rea - result foreseeable – escape case]

D frightened his wife V to such an extent that she jumped from a bedroom window to escape his threats and injured seriously herself

 

Held: V’s action was a foreseeable result of D’s unlawful act, and he could therefore be regarded as having caused her injuries.

 

Guilty of s.20

Haystead v DPP [2000] QBD

 

 

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

[Actus reus – battery – indirect force]
D assaulted by beating a child by punching the child's mother causing the child to fall and hit his head. He argued that battery required the direct application of force which involved direct physical contact with the victim either with the body or with a medium such as a weapon.

 

Held; Battery did not require the direct infliction of violence and that H's act had been comparable to using a weapon to cause the child to fall. Although D had punched the complainant and not the child that she had been holding, the punches had caused the child to be dropped and therefore the magistrates had been entitled to find D guilty of assaulting the child by beating

 

Guilty

Ireland, Burstow, R v (1988 HL

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

^[Assault - phone calls - apprehension of immediate force]

D’s (separate trials) made a large number of telephone calls to women and remaining silent when they answered. A psychiatrist stated that as a result of the repeated telephone calls each of them had suffered psychological damage.

 

Held: "inflict" "bodily harm" as used in sections 20 and 47 included the infliction of psychiatric injury on another and did not mean that whatever caused the harm had to be applied directly to the victim.

An assault might be committed by words or gestures alone, depending on the circumstances; and that where the making of a silent telephone call caused fear of immediate and unlawful violence, the caller would be guilty of an assault

 

Guilty

Lewis, R v [1977]

 

 

 

 

 

 

R v Lewis [1977]

 

[Assault – escape case – mens rea - result foreseeable – escape case]
D shouted threats that he would kill his wife. She locked herself in her flat and refused access to D as he had previously assaulted her.  She heard the sound of breaking glass and, terrified of what he might do, she jumped out of their third floor flat and broke both her legs. The issue before the court was whether it could be said that the husband had "caused" her injuries.

 

Held: D was liable for the injuries sustained by the wife. Although her injuries were self-inflicted, D had set the chain of events in motion. He had done this through his previous acts of violence towards her and also his present threat to kill her.  D "caused" her injuries.

 

Guilty

Logdon v DPP [1976] QBD

[Assault – threat sufficient – even if means not present]

D showed V, a customs officer a replica gun that would not fire in a drawer and told her he would hold her prisoner until money owing him was repaid.

 

Held: it was enough that V had reasonable cause to fear that force was about to be inflicted on her; the conditional nature of the implied threat, and the fact that D had neither the means nor the intention of carrying it out, were irrelevant.

 

Guilty

Mackie, R v (1973) CA

 

 

 

R v Mackie (1973)

[Murder, Manslaughter – causation – escape cases]

D threatened his three-year-old stepson with a severe thrashing for some minor misbehaviour. The boy tried to run away but fell downstairs, dislocated his neck, and died.

 

Held: the right questions were: Was the boy in fear of D? Did that fear cause him to try to escape? Was that fear well founded? Was it caused by D’s unlawful conduct, allowing for the fact that D was in loco parentis and could lawfully administer reasonable punishment?
 

Guilty of manslaughter

Marjoram, R v (1999) CA

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

 

 

R v Marjoram (1999)

 

^[Assault – GBH – mens rea - outcome foreseeable by reasonable person – escape case]
D, a youth inflicted grievous bodily harm by forcing his way into a young woman's third floor room in a hostel, causing her - in fear - to jump or fall to the ground through the window, receiving life-threatening injuries.

 

Held: D guilty if such an outcome was foreseeable by a reasonable person in D's position (whether or not D had actually foreseen it). The reasonable man did not have to be the same sex and age as the defendant

 

Guilty

Also here

Martin, R v (1881) CCR

 

 

 

 

R v Martin (1881)

[Actus Reus of battery = inflicting unlawful personal violence - intentionally or recklessly – indirect force]
D positioned an iron bar in a theatre across an exit, as a joke, turned out the lights on a staircase and yelled 'Fire!'. As a result, several people were injured.

 

Held:

Lord Coleridge CJ:

'The prisoner must be taken to have intended the natural consequences of that which he did.'

 

An assault as such was not essential to the offence; some unlawful act and the foresight of harm would be enough. "Inflict" meant no more than "cause" and did not require a face-to-face assault.

Guilty

Mitchell, R v [1983] CA

 

 

 

R v Mitchel [1983]

[Manslaughter – transferred malice]

D and another man S became involved in a scuffle in a Post Office; D pushed S, who fell onto an elderly lady C, causing C injuries from which she later died.

 

Held: his intention to assault X was transferred to C.

 

Guilty of manslaughter

Also here

Morrison, R v (1989) CA

 

 

 

 

R v Morrison (1989)

^[GBH - actus reus - assault, battery – indirect force]
D was seized by a woman police officer. The WPC told D she was arresting him.

D then dived through a windowpane dragging the WPC through the glass. The WPC suffered serious facial cuts.

 

Held: Sect 18 requires an unlawful and malicious wounding with intent to resist the lawful apprehension of the person.

 

Not Guilty of Section 18

Pitts, R v (1842)

 

 

 

 

R v Pitts (1842)

[Murder – escape case – fear must be immediate and well founded]

V was found dead in a river, and it appeared that he had drowned, allegedly during an argument with D. The jury eventually acquitted D on the facts, but in his direction the judge said a man might throw himself into a river under such circumstances as to render it not a voluntary act ... but the apprehension must be of immediate violence and well grounded ... no other way of escape but that it was such a step as a reasonable man might take; in those circumstances D would be liable for V’s death.

 

Not guilty

Re J (Prohibited steps order: circumcision) (1999) CA

[Assault – circumcision – up to court unless both parents agree]
The Muslim father of a five-year-old boy J wanted him circumcised in accordance with Muslim tradition; his non-Muslim mother did not.

 

Held: male circumcision for religious purposes is undoubtedly lawful where both parents agree to it. Where they disagree the matter is one for the court, to be determined according to the child's welfare

 

A prohibited steps order made

Read v Coker (1853) CP

[Assault – words accompanied by actions sufficient]

D and his men surrounded P, rolling up their sleeves, and threatened to break P's neck if he did not leave. P was a rent collector who entered D's workshop and refused to go until the rent was paid.

 

Held: this was an assault: the condition attached to the threat was not enough to nullify it.

 

Guilty

Richardson & Irwin [1999] CA

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

[Assault – mens rea – did D, or would D, if sober, foresee the consequences]
DD two students lifted another over a balcony and dropped him about 12 feet to the ground, causing him serious injuries. During horseplay following an evening's drinking

 

Held: Clarke LJ said the question was not what another person would have foreseen but what DD themselves would have foreseen had they been sober.

 

Not Guilty

Richardson, R v (1999)

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

 

 

R v Richardson (1999)

^[Assault - consent obtained by fraud]
D a dentist was suspended by the General Dental Council. She continued treatment of patients

 

Held: Fraud only negatived consent if the victim was deceived as to the identity of the person concerned or the nature of the act performed. The concept of the "identity of the person" could not be extended to cover the qualifications or attributes of the appellant. In all the charges brought against the appellant the complainants were fully aware of the identity of the appellant.

 

Not Guilty

Roberts, R v (1971) CA

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

 

 

R v Roberts (1971)

^[Assaults - escape cases - Mens rea - ABH - "occasioning" refers to causation - not the assault]
D in a car with V a not inexperienced 21 year old woman. They were travelling between two parties. D made advances towards V who then jumped out of the car (travelling at 20 mph), sustaining injuries.

 

Held: "Occasioning" in ABH relates to causation, and is an objective test.
 

If the (common assault) was intentional there is no need to consider Recklessness.
 

The proper test for "occasioning" is not whether D actually foresaw the conduct of the victim which resulted in the actual bodily harm, but whether that conduct could have reasonably been foreseen as the consequence of what he was saying or doing.

 

ABH requires proof of an assault together with actual bodily harm occasioned by the assault.
The prosecution are not obliged to prove that

 

D intended to cause some actual bodily harm or was reckless as to whether such harm would be caused.

 

Stephenson LJ

On Causation:
The victim's reaction does not break the chain of  causation if it was reasonably foreseeable,

i.e. provided it was not

so "daft" ... or so unexpected ... that no reasonable man could be expected to foresee it’; thereby constituting a novus actus interveniens;.

 

Guilty of ABH

Santana-Bermudez, DPP v (2003) DC

 

Red Triangle indicating important material

 

Whole case here

^[Assault - actus reus - inactivity by D - an omission can amount to the actus reus of an assault]
D injured a woman police officer by allowing her to search him, knowing he had hypodermic needles in his pockets which stabbed her. D denied having any needles or sharps when asked.

 

D was convicted by the Magistrates, but acquitted at Crown Court. On appeal by way of case stated from the Crown Court, prosecutor's appeal was allowed.


Held: Where someone created a danger and thereby exposed another to a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury, there was an evidential basis for the actus reus of an assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

D had “created a danger by an act … that act was a continuing act”.  The risk of injury was foreseeable.

 

Not guilty but would be now

Also here

Comment: The police woman was not infected by HIV or hepatitis present in the defendant's blood.

Smith v Superintendent of Woking Police Station (1983) QBD

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

^[Assault - apprehension of immediate force]

D frightened V by looking through her bedroom window late at night. V a policewoman was "absolutely terrified, to the extent that she was very nervous and jumpy for a few days afterwards."

 

Held: D assaulted V as V apprehended unlawful personal violence.

 

Guilty

Stephens v Myers (1830) CA

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

[Assault – threatening actions sufficient]

D advanced towards V with his fists raised but was stopped by another person before coming within striking range. Following an argument

 

Held: It was enough that V was put in apprehension even though the battery (the actual striking) never occurred.

 

Guilty

Thomas, R v (1985) CA

 

 

 

R v Thomas (1985)

[Assault – must be indecent - assault is - merest touch]

D, a school caretaker assaulted a 12-year-old after taking hold of the hem of her skirt.

 

Held: the act was not inherently indecent and there was no evidence of circumstances making it so. But Ackner LJ said obiter that there can be no dispute that if you touch a person’s clothes while he is wearing them, that is equivalent to touching him.

 

Not guilty

Turberville v Savage (1669)

 

Red Triangle indicating "Must Know" material

 

[Assault - apprehension of immediate force]

D struck V causing him to loose an eye. D had placed his hand on his sword and said to V that;  

If it were not assize-time, he would tell him more of his mind.

 

V ‘defended himself’ when there had been no assault.

 

Held: As the judges were in town D would not use force on V.

 

No assault, finding for D

Wilson, R v [1955] CCA

 

 

 

R v Wilson [1955]

[Assault - words and actions sufficient]  
D threatened and kicked gatekeeper, calling out "Get out the knives". D was found poaching and the gamekeeper tried to arrest him.

 

Held: Lord Goddard CJ said obiter that words such as those were capable of being an assault on their own, even without any accompanying acts.

 

Guilty of common assault

 

 

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