Law non-fatal offences evaluation model answer
The law regarding non-fatal offences was described by the law commission as ‘inefficient as a vehicle for controlling justice where many aspects of the law are still obscure and its application erratic’. Furthermore professor J C smith described it as a ‘rag bag of offe3nces with no attempt to introduce consistency as to substance or form’. The first issue with the law on non-fatal offences is the language; firstly the definitions of key phrases are not defined in statute but rather rely on case law examples. For example the law regarding GBH is constantly evolving as shown in the case of R v Dica concerning the transmission of biological GBH however this is not illustrated in statute. The language is also seen as outdated, badly drafted and inconsistent; for example the use of the word maliciously in GBH implies wickedness on behalf of the defendant however this is not always the case in regard to the defendant’s mens rea. The use of the word ‘assault’ although to those versed in law will know it as ‘causing the victim to apprehend immediate unlawful violence’ to the lay person implies a level of physicality to the act where this would refer a ‘common assault’ or actual bodily harm involving either an assault or battery along with more actual bodily harm. Reform of these issues was proposed by the law commission in regard to replacing the terms used within each offence so that they were clearly defined in statute and no longer relying on case law, with new forms of violence such as those shown in R v Dica to be included and updated. The second issue of non-fatal offences is the hierarchy of sentencing; currently the law stands that assault and battery receive a maximum 6 months imprisonment, s.47 ABH stands at 5 years as does s.20 GBH with s.18 (grievous bodily harm with intention) having a possible sentence of life. However as s.20 requires far worse injuries than ABH it seems illogical to place them at the same...
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