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Assessment on law on Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person How to write: A) B) C) D) a) : b) Strengths Weaknesses The vocabulary (e.g.

OAPA1861 maliciously, grievous) is old fashioned and sometimes confusing The meaning of assault if ambiguous and has a narrow technical meaning Victim apprehends immediate unlawful personal violence but broad meaning in s47 meaning assault or battery. There is no logic in the numbering of offences in OAPA S18 and 20 contain two separate offences (wound and gbh). Wounding can be relatively minor and yet s18/20 very serious offence. The sentencing is illogical s47 & 20 have the same maximum sentence for two very different offences, and even though in practice judges give heavier sentences for s20 this should be layed out clearer It is uncertain whether consent is a defence or merely an element of the offence itself even judges disagree (Lords Jauncey,Templeman and Lowry say defence, Lords Mustill and Slynn as a factor negativing the actus reus. Mens rea for s18 can be recklessness when resisting arrest (Morrison). This appears harsh as s18 is a very serious offence whereas recklessness is a low level of mens rea. S20 uses inflicting for gbh, s18 causing. Although in both Wilson and Burstow it was decided that there was no difference this can still be confusing. Briefly outline relevant current law Discuss strengths and weaknesses Identify proposals for reform Discuss how these reforms would improve the law

Of Clarity
Meaning of assault in s47 OAPA 1861 consistently interpreted to mean assault or battery The House of Lords decision in R v Savage mens rea is clear intent/recklessness for initial assault, but not for the harm The conflict between inflict(s20) and cause (s18) has been resolved. Inflict = Cause.

Of the Development
Battery has been developed to include indirect batteries (Haystead) & omissions (SantaBermudez)

Abh adapted to deal with new/rare circumstances e.g. psychiatric harm (chan-fook) and hair (DPPvSmith)

GBH has developed to meet new circumstances, inc serious psychiatric harm (Burstow) and serious biological harm (Dica) The actus reus of gbh recognizes age of the victim as a relevant factor (Bollom) and the possible cumulative effect of a series of minor injuries (Brown & Stratton)

C) Law commissions report no. 218 proposed 4 new offences. 1. Replace assault & battery with a single new offence of assault that includes both elements (ie adopting the broader definition of assault in s47) 2. Replace s47 abh with the offence of intentional or reckless injury, with the mens rea needed for the injury caused. 3. Replace s20 with reckless serious injury. Mens rea (recklessness) needed for the serious injury. 4. Replace s18 with intentional serious injury. Resisting arrest disappears. The Law commission also notes that it would abolish the offence of wounding, and would place any wound in part b) c) or d) depending on the seriousness of the injury and mens rea.