Assault causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent is a criminal offence which is covered by Section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act, so both GBH with intent and Common Assault are categorised under two separate laws which is a difference. For this offence there needs to be “really serious harm” or a similarity between common assault and GBH with intent is that the assault or battery needs to have caused wounding of another person. Probably the best example of this is someone stabbing another person. Intention plays a key role when dealing with GBH. If there was intention to inflict this “really serious harm” then this would fall under Section 18 (the more serious offence). For example if a person head-butts another and breaks their nose they would be guilty of Section 20 if they had not specifically wanted to cause the damage, i.e. a broken nose. If the person knew exactly what they were doing and intended to cause the damage then they would be guilty of Section 18 and charged accordingly. Section 18 can in some cases result in life imprisonment but in reality sentences over ten years are extremely rare. A difference to common assault is that in the case of GBH the option of just a fine is not provided even if it is a first time offence. Also in the case of GBH it is often likely that bail will be refused due to the violent nature of the offence. Common Assault
Under Section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act the offence will be committed when a person either assaults another person or commits a battery, so both GBH with intent and Common Assault are categorised under two separate laws which is a difference. A battery is classified as the application of unlawful force. This could be anything from a push or slap. An assault is when the one person makes the other fear that immediate force will be used against them. This could be anything from shaking a fist or running a finger across a throat. No force needs to be applied in order for it to be an assault. Common assault carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison or a difference conferring to GBH with intent would be a fine. If someone is being charged for the first time it is unlikely that they will go to prison so therefore a fine would be the usual outcome. If the offender has previous convictions or if they were proven to have had a particular motivation for the attack, specifically if it is racially motivated this could however lead to a prison sentence.
The actus reus of assault is any act which causes the victim to apprehend an immediate infliction of violence, e.g. raising a fist or pointing a gun. There is no need for any physical contact between the defendant and the victim. The emphasis is on what the victim thought was about to happen. So even if the defendant meant his threat as a joke, an assault is nevertheless committed if the victim is sufficiently frightened. For example a case that could support this is Logdon v DPP  Crim LR 121- The defendant pointed an imitation gun at a woman in jest. She was terrified. The defendant then told her it wasn't real. An assault had been committed as the victim had apprehended immediate unlawful personal violence and the defendant was reckless as to whether she would apprehend such violence. The defendant must intentionally or recklessly cause his victim to apprehend the infliction of immediate force. For example a case to support this is R v Venna  QB 421. In R v Spratt  1 WLR 1073, the Court of Appeal held that the subjective Cunningham test of recklessness applies here, in that the defendant had to be aware of the risk of causing another person to apprehend harm. A battery is the infliction of unlawful force by one person upon another.