Intro to Criminal Law

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Mens rea – the mental element of the offence; what does this mean? Mens rea can be divided up into two elements: (1) intention; and
(2) recklessness.

Actus reus – can consist of:
(1) an act
(2) committed in a certain specified circumstances and
(3) leading to the prohibited consequence.

Mens rea should exist in relation to each of these separate elements.

Assault and Battery

Battery is the application of unlawful touching or force on another.

Is it a battery to touch someone on the tube?
Why/why not?
Can you use a medium to inflict a battery on another?

DPP v Kay [1990] – boy conceals acid in a hot air dryer. It was held that he had committed the battery as if he had switched the machine on himself.

DPP v Santana-Bermudez [2004] – a police officer asks D whether he has any needles in his pocket prior to a search, he says no. The police officer searches him and pricks his finger on a needle. D convicted of ABH.

Assault – involves the apprehension of immediate unlawful force.

It is possible to have a battery without an assault (D touching V from behind) and visa-versa (D threatening to punch V but not being able to do so).

Can words amount to an assault?

Ireland and Burstow – combined appeals that said uttering of words can amount to an assault. Silent phone calls are also an assault.



The fault element for assault and battery is either intention or advertent recklessness (Venna [1976] QB 421, approved in Savage and Parmenter [1992] 1 AC 699).

Advertent recklessness – D has foreseen that the particular kind of harm might be done and yet has gone on to take the risk of it.’

1.Requires D’s actual awareness of the risk.
2.D is reckless if aware of any degree of risk
3.The objective element is that the risk that D sees must be unjustified or unreasonable.

Principle of contemporaneity

This is the principle that the...
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