Chapter 5 Interactive key cases

D, a tattoo artist, removed ears and nipples and split tongues of clients at their request.

D was guilty of a s 18 offence. Consent was not a defence in cases of body modification involving serious injury.

The defendants, a group of sadomasochists, willingly and enthusiastically participated in the commission of acts of violence against each other for the sexual pleasure it engendered in the giving and receiving of pain.

It is not in the public interest that a person should wound or cause ABH harm to another for no good reason and, in the absence of such a reason, the victim’s consent afforded no defence to a charge under s 20 or s 47 OAPA; that the satisfying of sadomasochistic desires did not constitute such a good reason. This decision was upheld at the European Court of Human Rights: see Laskey v UK (1997).

D conducted a campaign of harassment of a woman with whom he had previously had a relationship. He made silent telephone calls, distributed offensive cards in the street where she lived, sent menacing notes to her, appeared at her home and place of work, and took photographs of her and her family.
A consultant psychiatrist stated that V was suffering from a severe depressive illness. D appealed against his conviction under s 20 on two grounds: depressive illness is not bodily harm, and harm cannot be inflicted indirectly.

On the meaning of bodily harm: see Ireland.
On the meaning of inflict: inflict includes the infliction of psychiatric injury on another and does not mean that whatever causes the harm has to be applied directly to V. Lord Steyn held there is no radical divergence between inflict (s 20) and cause (s 18), but the words are not synonymous.

D wished to form a relationship with V, who did not reciprocate. D followed V; sent her more than 800 letters; telephoned her on numerous occasions, only speaking sometimes; watched her house from his car; and wrote on her door. There was medical evidence that D’s actions caused V to suffer from a clinical state of depression and anxiety. D appealed against his conviction under s 47 on the ground that V’s apprehension of violence was not sufficiently immediate.

The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal, holding that it was sufficient for the prosecution to prove an apprehension of violence at some time not excluding the immediate future. It was not essential that V was able to see the potential perpetrator of the violence, and conduct accompanying words was capable of making the words an assault.

The defendant, knowing that he was HIV-positive, had unprotected consensual sexual intercourse with two women, who were both subsequently diagnosed as HIV-positive.
He was charged with offences under s 20 OAPA on the basis that he had recklessly transmitted the disease to the women when they did not know of, and did not consent to, the risk of infection.

A person who, knowing that he is suffering a serious sexual disease, recklessly transmits it to another through consensual sexual intercourse may be guilty of inflicting GBH, contrary to s 20 OAPA. V’s consent to sexual intercourse is not, of itself, to be regarded as consent to the risk of consequent disease; but if V does consent to such a risk that would provide D with a defence to a charge under s 20.

D made a large number of telephone calls to three women and remained silent when they answered. A psychiatrist who examined the women stated that as a result of the repeated telephone calls each of them had suffered psychological damage. D appealed against his convictions for offences contrary to s 47 on two grounds: silence cannot amount to an assault, and psychological damage is not bodily harm.

On the assault issue: where the making of a silent telephone call caused apprehension of immediate and unlawful violence, the caller would be guilty of an assault, if he formed mens rea.
On the meaning of bodily harm: in the light of contemporary knowledge covering recognizable psychiatric injuries, and bearing in mind the best current scientific appreciation of the link between the body and psychiatric injury, recognizable psychiatric illnesses fell within the phrase ‘bodily harm’.

D gave botox injections causing serious harm, after falsely claiming to be qualified to do so.

D was guilty of a s 20 offence because his deception as to his qualification related to a fundamental attribute and was the reason the victims consented to the procedure.

D threw the contents of a glass of beer over V and, as she did so, the glass broke and cut V.

Her conviction for a s 20 offence was substituted with a conviction for a s 47 offence. Section 20 requires the prosecution to prove D foresaw some harm to V, but the s 47 offence does not. The prosecution must simply prove the offence of a technical assault or (as here) a battery.

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