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Does the Uk Have a Constitution?

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In order to evaluate what offences have been committed in the crimes in this scenario, the clear presence of actus reus and mens rea are vital. for the prosecution to prove the existence of both elements of an offence beyond any reasonable doubt. Actus reus being the guilty act, whereas mens rea is the guilty mind, both of which are required in order to find criminal liability. In order to answer this problem question it must first be considered whether Pablo (P) is liable for any non-fatal offences against the person (OAP). The various offences and their definitions are contained in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

Pablo and Rose – Pulling hair.
The first offence to consider in respect of P is common law battery under section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Battery is a summary only offence and carries a maximum penalty of six months or a £5000 fine, or both. P’s motive of jealousy appears to be the significant factor motivating his actions however this is irrelevant to his actions in law. P intentionally: Venna imposed unlawful force: Collins v Wilcock on Rose (R) by pulling her hair. R did not give P permission to assault her, therefore the contact was both physical: Ireland and unlawful. Previous case law has clarified unlawful force to be even the slightest touch R v Brown . The mens rea for this offence is satisfied by either intention or subjective recklessness. With reference to the problem question, the actus reus was the direct physical contact of P with R when he pulls her hair, but it is clear there was no harm done to R’s body.
Pablo and Rose – Cutting hair.
Secondly, when P severs R’s hair this could constitute an offence of Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) contrary to section 47 (s.47) OAP Act 1861. Unlike battery, this is a triable either way offence meaning it can be heard in either a magistrates or crown court carrying a maximum penalty of five years. S47 OAPA 1861 (ABH) relates to the intentional or reckless infliction of unlawful violence upon someone: Savage ; Parmenter5. ABH refers to an assault, which interferes with the comfort of the victim and is more than transient or trifling: Miller and DPP v Smith . There must also be an injury – Chan – Fook ; ‘injury’ may include psychiatric harm – Ireland3. When dealing with ABH, a consideration of both factual and legal causation is required. In the case of DPP v Smith7, case facts are similar to those of P and R. Creswell J stated that ‘to a woman hair is a vitally important part of her body’ and Sir Igor Judge argued that despite hair being no more than dead tissue, it is still attached to the body, therefore amounts to ‘bodily’ harm . In this case, cutting off a woman’s ponytail amounted to s.47 ABH, so this precedent case would apply to R and P’s scenario.
Pablo and Quintin – Smashing bottle on head.
When P smashes the bottle over Quintin’s (Q) he may be found liable of committing either s.47 ABH or section 20 (s.20) of the OAP Act 1861, grievous bodily harm (GBH). Both offences are triable either way and hold a maximum penalty of five years. S.20 is a more serious crime, as the level of injury is higher. S.20 GBH is unlawful and malicious wounding or inflicting of GBH – DPP v Smith Bollom ‘really serious harm’ upon any other person, either with or without any weapon or instrument. A ‘wound’ consists of a cut or break in the continuity of the whole skin: Moriarty v Brooks Eisenhower . A ‘laceration’ is defined by the Oxford dictionary as ‘a cut or tear in the skin or flesh’ .
Under the Crown Prosecution Charging standards ‘cuts requiring stitches’ come under actual bodily harm. Because of this, the judge may advise the jury that the level of harm is not great enough for P to be found liable for any higher offence. However, it is stated in the scenario that P causes three small lacerations on Q’s face thus P has clearly ‘wounded’ Q.
The mens rea for s.20 is the intention or recklessness to cause some harm (some injury or ABH). As the scenario states P ‘looses control’ thus the jury may decide he was acting recklessly. On the other hand, the Woolin test could be applied if intention is suspected. In this case Lord Steyn laid down a model direction to effect, that only if the jury was sure that the consequence of death or GBH was a virtually certain consequence of the defendant’s action and the defendant was aware the outcome was virtually certain did that entitle the jury to find that he intended that outcome. This test is to only be applied in cases that involve oblique intent, not in cases where the defendant’s actions clearly suggested he desired the outcome17.
This test may mean the jury decide to find that P intended the injuries. The decision on whether or not P is liable for s.47 ABH or s.20 GBH is simply down to the level of harm.
Pablo and Suki – Accidental cutting with glass bottle.
When P accidentally cuts Suki (S) with the smashed bottle edge, the offence to be considered is GBH under (s.20) of the OAP Act 1861. As earlier stated S.20 GBH is the unlawful and malicious wounding or inflicting of GBH upon any person. To be found liable of the offence there must be either intention or foresight of causing some harm: Mowatt . If there was a foresight then a decision on whether to take the risk must be assessed subjectively using the Cunningham test. This test questions whether the defendant foresaw the harm that in fact occurred, or might have occurred, but none the less continued regardless of the risk, which P did. The actus reus of s.20 GBH is the same as section 18, however the difference lies in the mens rea. For s.20 there must be intention or recklessness as to cause some harm however for a s.18 offence there must be specific intent, thus making s.18 a more serious offence. Brady is a case very similar to the scenario of P and S, and displays how this kind of issue is treated in court.
When P cuts S with the broken glass it was assault. The injuries sustained by S was an incision of her subclavian artery which under the Crown Prosecution Service charging standards16 substantiate an offence under s.20 of the OAP Act 1861. Although P did not intend to injure S he may have been aware that there was a risk that his actions could cause some physical harm – R v Savage5. Furthermore consumption of alcohol may itself amount to recklessness.
Pablo and PC Todd – Hitting with bar stool.
Finally, when P hits PC Todd with the bar stool, he can be found liable s.47 ABH. As earlier defined, s.47 requires an assault or assault or battery occasioning actual bodily harm. When P hits PC Todd with the bar stool and causes bruising, under the Crown Prosecution Service charging standards this level of injury gives rise to liability of actual bodily harm. Bruising is not a ‘wound’ as it is just blood vessels that have become ruptured: JCC v Eisenhower14 thus P cannot be found liable for a higher offence. As seen in the definition the level of bruising depends on either the charge of battery or ABH. Due to PC Todd having to take time off work, the assumption is that it is a higher level of bruising. P clearly had the mens rea for the battery as he picked up the stool and intended to injure PC Todd when swinging the stool to hit him. Thus P is liable for s.47 ABH when he injures PC Todd.
Considering the examination of criminal liability, the problem question can be concluded to show that P is liable for offences against every individual. It is of course, up to the discretion of the judge to decide, thus only probable outcomes can be referred to until taken to court. P can most probably be proved liable under both s.47 and s.20 of the OAP Act 1861 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm against R and PC Todd and grievous bodily harm against S. As earlier stated it is debatable with Q until the level of harm is clear, but P is likely to be liable for s.20 GBH following the definition of ‘lacerations’. He can also be found liable of battery under s.39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 for pulling R’s hair.

Cases (UK):
C (a minor) v Eisenhower [1984] QB 331
Collins v Wilcock [1984] 3 All ER 374
Director of Public Prosecutions v Smith [1961] AC 290
Director of Public Prosecutions v Smith (Michael Ross) [2006] 2 All ER 16
Director of Public Prosecutions v Smith (Michael Ross) - [2006] 2 All ER 16 21 (Creswell J)
Director of Public Prosecutions v Smith (Michael Ross) - [2006] 2 All ER 16 20 (Sir Igor Judge)
Moriarty v Brooks (1834) 172 ER 1419
R v Bollom [2003] EWCA Crim 2846
R v Brady [2006] EWCA Crim 2413
R v Chan-Fook [1994] 2 All ER 552
R v Cunningham [1957] 2 QB 396
R v Ireland [1997] QB 114
R v Miller [1954] 2 QB 282
R v Mowatt [1968] 1 QB 421
R v Savage, R v Parmenter [1992] 1 AC 699
R v Venna [1976] Q.B. 421
R v Woolin [1999] 1 AC 82

Table of legislation:

Criminal Justice Act 1988 section 39
Offences Against the Person Act 1861 section 20
Offences Against the Person Act 1861 section 47

Secondary sources:
Loveless J, Criminal Law - Text, Cases and Materials (3edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford) 525-540

Padfield N, Criminal Law (8edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford) 238-250

Teal S, Beauman P, Criminal law and the special study paper (Hodder Education, London) 52-56

E-Law Resources, 'Wounding and GBH S.20 & S.18 OAPA 1861' ( 2013) accessed 23 December 2013
E-Law Resources, 'Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) under S.47' ( 2013) accessed 23 December 2013
The Crown Prosecution Service, 'Relevant Sentencing Guidelines' (2013) accessed 29 December 2013
Oxford University Press, 'Definition of Laceration in English' (2013) accessed 29 December 2013

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