Final Criminal Notes

Topics: Criminal law, Theft, Manslaughter in English law Pages: 12 (2988 words) Published: March 2, 2015

Common Assault (Technical Assault)

This is a common law offence.

Actus Reus- D causes V to apprehend immediate physical violence. (fear must be there and then R v Lamb) R v Fagan

Events are viewed from V’s prospective, not the reasonable person’s. Smith v Chief supt woking police (1983) Assault may be committed by words alone. R v Burstow, R v Ireland.

Mens Rea- Intention to cause V to apprehendd immediate harm or recklessness as to whether V may apprehend immediate harm. R v Savage , R v Paramenter.

D must atleast be aware of the risk that V may fear immediate violence.

Charged as – Offence contrary to s.39 Criminal Justice Act 1988. - DPP V Little.

Battery (Physical Assault)

Actus Reus – D applies unlawful force to V.

Force can be indirect. Haystead v Chief Constable of Derbyshire

Any unlawful touching may be a battery. Cole v Turner

Mens Rea – D must intend to apply unlawful force, or be reckless as to that fact.

s.47 Offences against the Person Act 1861

If assault causes harm…. Ie. Assault + Harm = S.47
No additional mens rea required for the harm. It is not necessary for D to foresee the risk of ABH aslong as mens rea for the technical assault is present. R v Savage.

Where psychological harm is suffered the disturbance may amount to ABH or GBH provided medical evidence supports this. Being upset will not suffice. R v Burstow / R v Ireland.

ABH= any hurt or injury to interfere with the health and comfort. R v Miller

Charged as – An offence contrary to s.47 OAPA 1861 . (ie. Assault occasioning actual bodily harm)

S.18 Offences against the Person Act 1861

Actus Reus- D wounds or causes GBH to V.

ABH can become GBH if harm is ‘serious harm’. Ie. Deep lacerations. – R v Saunders

Mens Rea – D must intend to cause GBH.
D foresees such harm as a virtual certainty – allowing the jury to infer intent. – R v Woolin.

D foresaw such harm and intends to resist arrest.
Charged as – Offence contrary to s.18 OAPA 1861

s.20 Offences against the Person Act 1861

Lesser offence than s.18

Actus Reus – D unlawfully wounds or inflicts GBH.

Wound = Break both layers of skin (epidermis and dermis) – JJC V Eisenhower.

Mens Rea – D must act maliciously (ie. With intention or recklessly).

D must foresee that some physical harm may occur to some person as a result of D’s actions. – R v Mowatt (Mowatt test). Confirmed in R v Savage.

ABH may become GBH where V is young or vulnerable – Bolam 2004.


D takes V as he finds him. “Think Skull Rule” – R v Blaue


V cannot consent to physical violence unless it is in public interest. R v Donovan / R v Brown

Where D oversteps the consent, ie. In sport, The jury must look at the type of sport, level it is being played at, nature of act and degree of force.

Consent lies on V’s knowledge and understanding of the nature and quality of the act. R v Rabassum/ R v Dica

Brown 1994 – Does the criminal law have a place in the private sexual acts of consenting adults?


Horseplay is something left to the jury’s consideration based on V’s knowledge.

If D honestly believes V is consenting – the defence should be allowed – R v Jones 1987 / Aitken 1992.


S.18 is specific intent because mens rea goes beyond the actus reus. – As such, intoxication is a partial defence- reducing down to s.20. R v Majewski.

Self induced intoxication is no defence to s.20 or s.47. These are crimes of basic intent.

Self induced intoxication was reckless. R v Hardie (Recklessness is enough for mens rea)

Intoxication denies the ability to form mens rea. – R v Cole.



Establish factual causation – But for test – R v White – but for d’s actions…. V would not have died

Establish legal causation – are D’s acts the operating and substantial cause of death R v Smith

D’s actions don’t have to be the main cause,...
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