legal question around assault
Legal opinions please, and if you can cite the specific law, all the better.
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?Posted 4 years ago
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.
Nor was B under any duty to retreat
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 solicitorPosted 4 years agocrankboyMember
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 .Posted 4 years ago
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’ 😉Posted 4 years agofootflapsSubscriber
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.Posted 4 years agoJunkyardMember
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.
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 expectPosted 4 years ago
Steven GerrardB to be finePigfaceMember
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.Posted 4 years agothx1138Member
‘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.Posted 4 years ago
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.Posted 4 years agoMoreCashThanDashSubscriber
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.Posted 4 years agoandydickoSubscriber
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.Posted 4 years agothx1138Member
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.Posted 4 years agodeviantMember
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.Posted 4 years ago
My colleague didnt suffer any legal repercussion.johnellisonMember
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…Posted 4 years agocrankboyMember
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 .Posted 4 years ago
Pigface did you actually go beyond what you needed to do to protect yourself ?willberMember
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.Posted 4 years agozilog6128Subscriber
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.Posted 4 years ago
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