Discuss Peters Potential Liability
As the defendants’ actions did not lead to death he would be charged with Non -fatal offence. These offences are against a person that don’t result in death but does however result in various degrees of injury.
Grievous bodily harm if found under section 18 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1867 ‘whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously by any means whatsoever wound or cause grievous bodily harm to any person with intent to do some grievous bodily harm to any person shall be guilty of an offence.
To determine if Peters actions led to the offence of GBH s.18 it is important to show that both actus reus and mens rea are present. The actus reus of GBH s.18 is found in the definition of the offence, requiring the defendant to have’ unlawfully wound or cause grievous bodily harm’. A ‘wound’ must break through all the layers of the skin through the case of Moriarty v Brooks 1834 and a broken bone will not constitute a wound unless the skin is broken too through the case of Wood 1830. The definition of ‘grievous bodily harm’ within the section means ‘really serious harm’ but doesn’t need to be life threatening defined in the case of DPP v Smith 1961. Peter fulfils the actus reus as the defendant unlawfully hit the victim, breaking his nose, causing a wound and cutting of the skin, however it is in the jury’s opinion to direct the injuries as ‘serious harm’ through the case of Saunders 1985.
The mens rea is the mental state of the defendant during the offence committed. The mens rea of GBH s.18 is also found in the definition of the offence. The defendant must ‘maliciously wound or cause grievous bodily harm’. This is shown through the case of Cunningham were the word ‘maliciously’ refers to intention or recklessness. The mind set of peters clearly shows him acting in a reckless ‘malicious’ state However within the case of Mowatt 1967 the defendant now must have specific intention to do some grievous bodily harm under the s.18. Referring to Peters case Peter had no specific intention to wound or cause grievous bodily harm and he did not intent serious harm and he has no recollection.
Malicious wounding or grievous bodily harm is found under section 20 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1867. ‘whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously inflict wound or inflict any grievous bodily harm upon any other person, either with or without a weapon or instrument shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than five years’ The actus reus of GBH s.20 is similar to s.18, requiring the defendant to ‘ unlawfully wound or inflict any grievous bodily harm on any other person’. Within s.20 Peter did in fact wound and inflict grievous bodily harm towards the victim as the injuries occurring (wound or broken layer of skin) satisfies the requirement.
The mens rea of GBH s.20 requires the defendant to have ‘maliciously wound or inflict any grievous bodily harm’. Through the case of Cunningham...