Bruce & Dyer

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Bruce v. Dyer: Case Presentation Exercise

Style of Cause: Bruce v. Dyer. [1966] 2 O.R. 705.
Procedural History: This case is the judgment in a matter brought to trial by Mr. Bruce as plaintiff against Dr. Dyer as defendant. Facts:The defendant attempted to pass the plaintiffs car on the highway several times, during which, the plaintiff prevented the defendant from re-entering the traffic lane by increasing his speed. After being followed for 16 km, the plaintiff stopped his car on the paved portion of the highway to block the defendants’ passage. The plaintiff then emerged from his car shaking his fist and walked towards to the defendants’ vehicle. The defendant got out of his car and when the parties met, the defendant struck the plaintiff on his chin. The plaintiff had a diseased jaw and thus the strike resulted in a serious fracture to his jaw. The plaintiff brought action against the defendant for damages of assault. Issue: Is the defendant liable for damages for the assault suffered by the plaintiff? Decision: No

Reasons: Striking a person without their willful consent is regarded assault / battery. An attempt to strike another, as long as there is a present ability to do so constitutes as assault even when no contact has been made. Thus for a charge to be considered an assault there must be an intention to use violence, the power to use violence, and the plaintiff must be in reasonable grounds to believe that they are in direct danger. When the plaintiff (Bruce) exited his vehicle after pulling over and blocking defendant (Dyers) path, and walked towards the defendants car shaking his fist, there was reasonable grounds for the defendant to believe he was about to be attacked. Thus the defendant’s action was out of self defense. The following actions of the plaintiff prove the grounds self defense: 1) The plaintiff physically blocked the defendants’ path; there was no escape or retreat. 2) The plaintiff shook his fist threateningly at the...
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