R V Davis Harris, Advice to a client (criminal law)

Topics: Criminal law, Offences against the Person Act 1861, Grievous bodily harm Pages: 3 (971 words) Published: November 18, 2013
David Harris


This advice is directed to my client, Mr David Harris, on account of two criminal charges put against him. The first charge is for assault occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to s. 47 of the Offence Against the Person Act 1861 The second charge constitutes of wounding or causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, contrary to s. 18 of the OAPA 1861. The initial part of this advice relates to Mr David's first charge; of assault against his sister, Florence.

With regards to the first charge, we will firstly discuss your liabilities and possible defences against s 47 of the OAPA 1861 , in relation to your sister, Florence's injury. Firstly we will take into account the actus reus; your action , which is when you "pulled" Florence "out of the way". This does not necessarily signify causing harm as it can be seen in light with somebody rushing to work and accidently pushing and hurting somebody in a bus. Such cases could be charged with tortuous liability and not a criminal charge . Secondly the mens rea; your mental element behind your action , shows clearly that your state of mind at the time was bent on leaving the house and not on harming Florence. Your lack of acknowledgement of her injury at that time can support that. Since both these elements are required to convict your criminal liability , it seems you may not be criminally liable for harming Florence because you did not have any element of mens rea; you did not intend to cause her harm, which in turn could acquit your act of mistakenly causing Florence's ankle sprain.

Another defence could be, since you mentioned, to prove that your sister actually did not sprain her ankle. This will help reduce if not remove your liability completely since that would mean that she suffered no "actual bodily harm" (ABH). This is because according to Miller ABH constitutes of “Any hurt or injury calculated to interfere with health or comfort”, and...

Bibliography: Books:
N Haralambous, Criminal Law, Oxford University Press, New York, 2010
J Herring, Criminal Law: Texts, Cases and Materials, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010
M Allen, Textbook on Criminal Law, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009
D Garland, Criminology, Culture, Critique A Review of Jock Young, The Criminological Imagination, New York University Press, New York, 2011
www.lexisnexis.co.uk (Last accessed – 19th January 2012)
www.westlaw.co.uk (Last accessed – 20th January 2012)
www.criminal-law.co.uk (Last accessed – 11th January 2012)
www.sweetandmaxwell.co.uk (Last accessed – 19th January 2012)
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