Non fatal offences against the person
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Non Fatal Offences Against the Person. ABH GBH Wounding Criminal Law A2. Offences Where Injury is Caused. Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm s47 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 Malicious wounding or inflicting GBH s18 OAPA 1861 Wounding or causing GBH with intent S20

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Non Fatal Offences Against the Person

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Non Fatal Offences Against the Person

ABH GBH Wounding

Criminal Law A2

Mrs Howe

Offences Where Injury is Caused

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm s47

Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Malicious wounding or inflicting GBH s18 OAPA 1861

Wounding or causing GBH with intent S20

OAPA 1861 (most serious)

Mrs Howe


  • S 47 of The OAPA 1861

  • Triable either way

  • Whosoever shall be convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm shall be liable to maximum imprisonment for 5 yrs

  • Although an offence created by statute there is no definition of the offence or of the required means rea

  • All these points have been developed through case law

Mrs Howe

Actus reus

  • Necessary to prove there has been an assault or battery and that this caused actual bodily harm

  • ABH can be:-

  • Hurt or injury calculated to interfere with health and comfort of the victim Miller 1954

  • Loss of consciousness R V DPP 2003

  • Any injury include graze, bruises

  • Psychiatric injury/illness Chan Fook 1994 mere emotions. Burstow 1997

Mrs Howe

Mens Rea of AABH

Same as for assault or battery

Intention to cause another to fear immediate force or be. Savage 1991

Subjectively Recklessnessas to whether such fear is caused. Roberts 1971

Omission but only where there is a duty of care

Mrs Howe


  • Create a table of cases for Assault Battery and S47

Mrs Howe

Talking Point

  • Look at the following cases: Miller 1954, Chan Fook 1994 Burstow 1997 R(T) V DPP 2003, Roberts 1971, Savage 1991

  • Why are cuts, bruises and grazes enough for S47 Assault Actual Bodily Harm

  • Why would causing psychiatric illness be AOABH?

  • How could loss of consciousness be AOABH

  • Why do you not have to show D intended to cause ABH

  • What mens rea is required for AOABH.

Mrs Howe

S20 OAPA 1861Malicious Wounding Inflicting GBH

  • Triable either way

  • Max sentence 5 years

  • Higher degree of injury than S47

  • For offence to be proved must show D (Actus Reus)

    • Wounded

    • Or Inflicted GBH

Mrs Howe


  • Means cut or break skin

  • Can be inside skin such as cheek but

  • Not internal bleeding

  • Wounding must break the skin

    • JCC V Eisenhower 1983

    • Wood 1830

Mrs Howe


  • Must be serious but not:-

    • life threateningDPP V Smith 1961

    • Or really seriousSaunder 1985

  • V health and age will be taken into account when deciding if injury is serious e.g Bruising on a baby wld be GBH Bollom 2006

  • Psychiatric illness can be GBH Burstow 1997

  • Infecting someone with HIV Dica 2004

Mrs Howe


  • Wide interpretation of inflict

  • Originally thought had to be technical a assault or battery then GBH/Wounding. Lewis

  • Only have to show D actions have lead to V suffering GBH

    Can be :-

  • shouting through a letter box (Assault fear of unlawful force) and someone injuring themselves as a result of fear. Lewis 1974

  • Causing V to suffer severe depression as a result of assault. Burstow 1997

Mrs Howe

Mens Rea GBH

  • Maliciously is the wording in the act .

  • However in Cunningham 1957 it was decided Maliciously does not require any ill will to V, but:-

  • An intention to do the particular kind of harm that was done

  • Or recklessness as to whether such harm should occur or not. (foresight of consequences but still taken risk)

    Decision upheld in Parameter 1991

    Same Mens Rea for all statutory offences where word maliciously appears. Parameter 1991

Mrs Howe

Particular kind of harm

H of L decided that although offence requires a wound or GBH, the D :-

  • did not have to realise the risk of GBH

  • or foresee this kind/seriousness of injury

Mrs Howe


  • Read pg 117and 118 on Wounding or Causing GBH with intent

Mrs Howe

S18-Wounding With Intent

  • More serious than S47, S20

  • Triable on Indictment (Crown Court-Jury)

  • Max sentence 20 years

  • Committed in two ways:-

    • Wounding

    • Or causing GBH

  • Same definitions as S20

  • Cause has wide meaning. Just need to show D act was a substantial cause of the wound or GBH

Mrs Howe

S18 Mens Rea

  • S18 is a specific intention crime and therefore intention to cause GBH or Resist arrest must be proved.

  • Recklessness is not enough

  • Maliciously in the wording of offence but not helpful

  • Foresight of consequences is not intention. Moloney 1985

  • But is evidence from which intention can be inferred or found.

  • Intention cannot be found unless the harm caused was a virtual certainty as a result of D actions and D realised it was so Nedrick 1986 Woolin 1998

  • Lower level of intention for resisting and preventing arrest

Mrs Howe

Mens Rea Of S18(cont)

  • Must have been wounding or GBH to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of any person (Resist arrest)

  • GBH of police man:-

  • in order to resist arrest

  • or allow a suspect to get away

  • Protection for police

  • Morrison 1989

Mrs Howe


  • Create a Table for the cases for the Actus Reus and Mens Rea of S20 and S18 Offences

Mrs Howe


  • Read the scenario on pg 119

  • Then answer the questions.

Mrs Howe


  • Give examples of injuries for each sections of OAPA 1861 for

  • S47

  • e,g bruises, grazes

  • S20,

  • S18

Mrs Howe


  • What are the CPS charging standards?

  • How can Consent be regarded as a defence to offences against a person.

  • Answer this question in light of relevant case law.

  • Why is there a need for reform of the Offences Against Persons Act 1861?

  • Include references to key proposals by the Law Commission.

Mrs Howe


  • Can consent be a defence? Give reasons and relevant cases for your answer.

  • What are the CPS charging standards?

  • Why does this area of law need to be reformed? Give reasons for your answer

Mrs Howe


  • Read the activity on pg 125 and identify what offences have been committed

Mrs Howe

  • Vinetta and Qaid are partners. Vinetta reluctantly allows him to ‘brand’ the letter ‘M’ on her thigh with a piece of hot wire as a token of their love. The pain is so great that Vinetta lashes out uncontrollably and strikes Qaid in the face breaking his glasses and cutting his eyebrow. Qaid is now so annoyed that he retaliates by hitting out at Vinetta, catching her in the face and causing her nose to bleed. Vinetta storms out saying she will never forgive him for hitting her. For the next three months Qaid telephones Vinetta at her parents’ house as many as ten times a day. Each time he threatens her that she will ‘regret it’ if she ever decides to go out with another man. Vinetta becomes so frightened and depressed by Qaid’s behaviour that she cannot leave the house and gives up her job.

  • Consider what offences, if any, have been committed by Vinetta and Qaid and whether any defences are available to either of them.

Mrs Howe

Exam Questions

  • David is the captain of the Kingsport United football team. During an important match against their local rivals, David is involved in an accidental clash of heads whilst jumping for the ball with an opposing player, Martin. David receives a large bruise above his left eye and Martin sustains a small graze on his eyebrow. David insists on continuing after treatment with a cold sponge but is obviously in a dazed condition. A few minutes later David jumps wildly into a late challenge on Martin. Martin is stretchered off and x-rays later reveal that he has a broken ankle. The referee, Sanjay, raises a red card to send David off the pitch. In his confused state David believes the referee is about to attack him and punches Sanjay on the nose causing it to bleed. Advise David as to his possible criminal liability. [50]

Mrs Howe

Mrs Howe

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