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Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law

Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law (5th edn)

John Child and David Ormerod
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date: 12 June 2024

p. 2327. Non-fatal offences against the personlocked

p. 2327. Non-fatal offences against the personlocked

  • David OrmerodDavid OrmerodProfessor of Criminal Justice, University College London Deputy High Court Judge Barrister, Bencher of Middle Temple
  •  and John ChildJohn ChildProfessor of Criminal Law, Birmingham Law School Co-Director of the Birmingham Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing Co-Director of the Criminal Law Reform Now Network


This chapter deals with non-fatal offences against the person, a variety of offences designed to criminalise behaviour ranging from the infliction of serious (non-fatal) injuries to potential targeting of any non-consensual contact. The chapter begins by explaining the offences of assault and battery, the actus reus and mens rea of each, and defences. It then considers relevant provisions of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 with respect to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm, and wounding or causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The chapter then considers ‘conduct focused’ offences against the person, such as harassment and poisoning. Finally, the chapter outlines potential legal reforms concerning modernisation and re-codification, constructive liability, and consent; and the potential application of the offences against the person within a problem question. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter, with a brief summary of the main facts and judgments.

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