legal question around assault

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  • legal question around assault
  • Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    Legal opinions please, and if you can cite the specific law, all the better.

    The scene:

    A fight begins, in which Person A is being very provoking. His demeanor is intimidating, and his body language clearly expresses a desire to get physical.

    Person B stands calmly while being harangued by Person A, and only when Person A steps very close to him does B even put up an arm to create more space.

    A few more words are said by A, when suddenly B launches forward with his head and hits A in the chin and a fight erupts. The fight lasts a matter of seconds, and B clearly defeats A.

    Now, I understand that in law, provocation is no defence, on which basis, B’s headbutt could count as assault. But if B maintained that A’s words words were that he was ‘going to ‘F’ you up, right now!’, is it equally true that it is with the specific, threatening words that an assault begins?

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    I’d have thought B is in a world of trouble here.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I’m not sure ‘Getting my retaliation in first’ is a defence but it’s worth a try 🙂

    Threats can be construed as an assault so it will then probably be down to whether nutting someone is ‘reasonable force’.

    toys19
    Member

    I’m minded of this vid [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3ZtXwYiDHA[/video]

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    A has threatened assault. B has carried out assault.

    Was B standing with his back to a wall?

    rattrap
    Member

    Its legal to ‘strike first’ in self defence if you believe that you are about to be hit – so on the basis of A saying he was ‘going to ‘F’ you up, right now!’ and subsequent body language, B would be in the clear.

    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/self_defence/#Pre-emptive_strikes

    Nor was B under any duty to retreat

    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/self_defence/#Retreating

    oh, and one other thing if I’m reading between the lines – whatever you do, don’t be talked into a caution and shut the **** up and say nothing till you’ve seen the duty solicitor

    patriotpro
    Member

    Does person ‘B’ (you?) give a shit as long as he leathered person ‘A’…

    Good on you (Person B) btw, person ‘A’ sounded like a an ass-whipping waiting to happen.

    crankboy
    Member

    The correct answer is what ever the magistrates or jury think. B’s defense is to say he genuinely believed he was about to be attacked and his response to that belief was a reasonable act of selfdefense and he did no more than he needed to stop the attack he anticipated . No legal duty to retreat no legal duty to let the attacker get the first blow in. On the version of events you have provided I would be reasonably confident of B’s aquital .

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    B just brought into play the age old adage when in situations like that, where getting physical looks pretty unavoidable – always get the first punch in!

    I’m not sure where specifically its written into law, but I’m sure its there somewhere under ‘common sense’ 😉

    mudshark
    Member

    If person B can prove he felt threatened and only used as much force as was necessary he’ll be fine. Proving is hard though.

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    If person B can prove he felt threatened

    That’d be a bit tricky given this:

    Person B stands calmly while being harangued by Person A

    Why didn’t person B leave the situation at this point?

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Have you reported person A for assault? Better to get your retaliation in first in that department, too.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Why didn’t person B leave the situation at this point?

    Perhaps he felt that turning his back on someone was more dangerous, as you wouldn’t see a blow to the head coming?

    NB If you’re going to get hit in the head, the front has the most padding for the brain and therefore lowest chance of brain injury / concussion. Side / rear blows are much worse and easier to knock someone out.

    patriotpro
    Member

    How injured is/was person ‘A’? How is their physical build compared to you (Person B)?

    rattrap
    Member

    If person B can prove he felt threatened

    Person B doesn’t have to prove anything!

    Have you reported person A for assault? Better to get your retaliation in first in that department, too.

    This!

    Junkyard
    Member

    B’s defense is to say he genuinely believed he was about to be attacked and his response to that belief was a reasonable act of selfdefense and he did no more than he needed to stop the attack he anticipated . No legal duty to retreat no legal duty to let the attacker get the first blow in.

    THIS

    Why didn’t person B leave the situation at this point?

    Has no beaqring it is not against the law to not retreat when someone threatens you you can stay there as it is legal to do this.

    If as you describe and the response was swift and reasonable i would expect Steven Gerrard B to be fine

    Premier Icon onewheelgood
    Subscriber

    The crime of assault is committed when someone (A?) causes someone else (B?) to believe that that are in immediate danger of physical violence. The actual violence, should it occur, is actually the crime of battery.

    mudshark
    Member

    Person B doesn’t have to prove anything!

    Really? Given that person A beat up person B I think he’s got some explaining to do.

    timc
    Member

    I like person B

    Pigface
    Member

    Person B is in trouble IMO similar thing happened to me where I was person B. I ended up accepting a caution which so far hasn’t impacted on getting a job or foreign travel etc. I didn’t try a tell a porky to get out of it, just told the coppers my version of events.

    mudshark
    Member

    Really? Given that person A beat up person B I think he’s got some explaining to do.

    Oops I got my A and B the wrong way around – B beat A!

    fingerbike
    Member

    Person B just needs to say they drove into them with their car, should get off without any points.

    thx1138
    Member

    ‘Self defence’ is a legal minefield. I’d not employ some of the commentators on this thread as my lawyers, that’s for sure.

    Not really sure that headbutting someone would be seen as ‘reasonable force’ by many judges and juries. Violence can only be used as defence if all other avenues of preventing assault/injury have been exhausted. In the scenario described, more likely either both parties would be done for affray (and possibly ABH in ‘B’s case), or both told to piss off if the police attending had any common sense.

    mudshark
    Member

    Oh I don’t know – Jay Kay gets butted:

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0qaudQf_j0[/video]

    hora
    Member

    B is in big trouble. I’ve been in the position of B a few times. I’ve defused/de-escalated the situation. One local nutter in Hebden even shoved/pushed me around and I still remained calm.

    Its clear that B wasn’t using self-defence. If B felt fear/threatened he/she should have backed away.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    Self defence is perfectly valid if person B had genuine reason to fear for their immediate safety. Given the story as presented by the OP I would think a headbutt would still count as reasonable. At what point in the subsequent fight that right to reasonable self defence becomes battery or ABH is a different matter.

    Beware if this goes to the local beat bobby who is looking for an easy caution to reduce his paperwork under so called restorative justice. I was told by our bobby that we could shout and threaten each other as much as we liked but the first one to touch the other “loses” in the eyes of the law. Which is not actually the case at all.

    patriotpro
    Member

    What does it matter if it was a headbutt or a wet kipper ‘B’ used…Better a forehead than a pint-pot in ‘As’ mush!

    hora
    Member

    Self defence is perfectly valid if person B had genuine reason to fear for their immediate safety

    Aye- shoving someone away- putting an arm out not attack.

    Premier Icon andydicko
    Subscriber

    I know of someone this happened to, he headbutted the aggressor, he duly got done for assult, due to the Headbutt, Judge/Magistrate said something along the lines of, if he had used Queensbury Rules, i.e. Fists then his defence would have stood a chance, but a Headbutt was too aggressive.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    A hefty hoof to the cobblers would surely be the perfect answer?

    hora
    Member

    Another reason to continually try and defuse a situation (that hasn’t reached punching) is you may headbut the person – who then switches into no rules and ends up stamping on your head repeatedly.

    Always walk away if possible.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Or throw them down a flight of stairs?

    hora
    Member

    Or throw them down a flight of stairs?

    An old friend of mine got 18months when he did that to a Burglar. Mind you he did give him a kicking at the bottom of the stairs too.

    thx1138
    Member

    Oh I don’t know – Jay Kay gets butted:

    Entirely different legal issue. The mere presence of Jay Kay would be seen as extreme provocation, giving the defendant no option but to resort to extreme violence. A good kicking would be seen as perfectly reasonable behaviour, and no court in the land would convict.

    deviant
    Member

    Firstly person A (having started this) should not in any way shape or form be going to the police….what a wimp….thats just asking to have your car burnt out on top of a good pasting.

    Secondly there is some flexibility in the law for self defence/pre emptive strike etc etc….we had a member of staff who was called to an address under the pretence of a 999 emergency, once inside the house the caller locked the door and delivered a barrage of abuse at my colleague which had him genuinely believing he was about to be attacked….he hit the aggressor with the torch he was carrying and demanded to be let out of the house, the caller ignored the request and was then told to ‘stay back’ before he was hit again….this was repeated several times until the caller was so incapacitated that my colleague was able to let himself out of the situation….this was all captured on a recorded phone line as the caller had left the phone off the hook when the ambulance arrived.
    My colleague didnt suffer any legal repercussion.

    johnellison
    Member

    To quote US military doctrine –

    “De-escalation, deterence and avoidance should be your top three priorities for survival.”

    “Always move away from your enemy wherever possible – distance is your freind.”

    In other words, at the first sign of trouble, scarper. It’s served me well. Mind you, I’m a lover, not a fighter…

    crankboy
    Member

    Thx1138 self defense is less a legal minefield and more a factual one my last successful jury trial was exactly the op’s scenario except that the person b was in fact two people . So two defendants on to one person A the jury and indeed the judge had no difficulty accepting self defence for the use of a headbut .
    Pigface did you actually go beyond what you needed to do to protect yourself ?

    willber
    Member

    Decide whether you are gonna risk charge/court from the outset and stick to your plan – if you are, argue your version of events all the way to court. But – you need to consider…….

    Has the incident been captured on CCTV? Are there any winesses? (independant of both A & B) Are there any other sources of info that could come out at a later stage that would bias a persons assessment
    of what actually took place? This will probably determine the eventual outcome in favour of A or B. If it’s purely down to A’s word Vs B’s word, (plus previous convictions etc) then it will come down to who the magistrate believes on the day.

    Has person B already been visited by the Police? If not, has person A actually filed a complaint against person B already? Without a complaint there is no case to answer.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    I think everyone should read the link rattrap posted before replying to this thread, it would take a lot of the guesswork out of it 🙂 Very interesting reading. It says that as long as the initial use of force was justified then the consequences are irrelevant – i.e. if you (justifiably) punch/headbutt someone once in self-defence, and they fall down and crack their heads and die then legally that is not your problem. Equally the reverse of this is true.

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