Assault and Battery Allegations
Over the festive period many people consume more alcohol than normal due to parties and celebrations both at friends and family members’ houses. This leads to an increased number of cases of violence arising, with family feuds and brawls in bars emerging as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. If you find that you are being charged with an assault/battery offence after a fight then you may begin to wonder what the offence you have been charged with actually entails.
This is the least serious of assault charges that can be applied. Assault causes the victim to apprehend physical violence, although no actual physical contact is needed for this charge, the fear that physical violence may be inflicted is enough. If the phrase “battery” is used then this indicates unlawful physical contact has been made with the victim, although there needn’t be any injury present. Superficial scratches and light bruising however, may constitute a common assault offence.
Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)
Actual bodily harm is more serious than a battery offence, and some injury or discomfort must have been inflicted upon the victim. The injury needn’t be permanent but must be more than superficial. Multiple bruising, temporary loss of consciousness, minor bone fractures and tooth chipping would all be considered to be actual bodily harm.
Grievous Bodily Harm (Section 20)
Section 20 Grievous bodily harm (GBH) is the less serious of the two GBH offences. It signifies unlawful and malicious wounding without intent. “Wounding” is used to describe the breaking of skin, so a stab wound would constitute GBH. Psychiatric illness and disease transmission can also amount to a GBH offence. It’s more serious than an actual bodily harm offence and carries a longer maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.
Grievous Bodily Harm (Section 18)
Section 18 bodily harm is the more serious than section 20, with the main difference being that there was intention to inflict GBH to another person. In order to be charged with a section 18 offence, there must be sufficient evidence and proof that you intended cause GBH. The choice of weapon, threats made to the victim before the attack, repeated attacks and manipulation of objects to be used as weapons would all suffice as proof that intent is present. Due to the severity of the offence, it carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Anyone who has an assault allegation against them is entitled to free legal advice from criminal solicitors. It’s advisable to contact one if you are facing an assault charge as the law can be complicated and bewildering to a layperson.