Hello, my name is Paul Seaton. I am a fully qualified Solicitor with over 30 years experience and Head of the Crime Team. At Seatons we deal with a wide variety of criminal law matters, including those of assault, grievous bodily harm, wounding and more.
Our dedicated Crime Team can ensure you have representation at the Police Station, Magistrates Court, Crown Court or Appeal Court depending on your requirements.
Please contact us about your criminal law matter at either our Corby office on 01536 276300 or our Kettering office on 01536 311690 or contact us online.
Three of the most common types of assault include common assault, actual bodily harm (ABH) and grievous bodily harm (GBH). This guide will provide an overview of each type along with an explanation of how the law applies to you. At Seatons, our team of experienced criminal law specialist can provide you with expert bespoke legal advice at low sensible fees. For more information, call us on 01536 276300 and receive a quote.
GBH is covered under Sections 18 and 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and is classified as ‘really serious bodily harm’. Examples are wide-ranging and include the stabbing of another person to breaking a individual’s arm.
The intention of the offender plays a large part in determining the severity of the offence and subsequent sentence. The offence of ‘wounding without intent’ is covered under Section 20 and involves intending to cause some harm but not ‘really serious harm’. Intending to cause serious bodily harm is covered under Section 18.
As this offence is limited to assaults of a very serious nature, the penalties are often severe. Depending on whether the offence falls under Section 18 or 20, means the penalty can vary greatly.
Section 18 (Wounding without intent): Maximum five year sentence.
Section 20 (Intention to cause GBH): Maximum life sentence.
ABH is covered under Section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and is classified as an assault or battery which causes some bodily harm. Examples are equally wide-ranging and include cuts, bruises and scratches. Psychological injury amounting to a recognisable psychiatric illness can also be defined as ABH.
When assessing whether the offender has committed an offence of ABH, the intention need only be to apply unlawful force, not cause injury. A push or shove, subsequently resulting in bruising, can therefore be classified as ABH.
Unlike GBH, the penalty system for ABH is less severe and, in many cases, first time offences just result in a fine. The offence does carry a maximum five year prison sentence however in certain cases.
Common assault is covered under Section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and occurs when someone intentionally or recklessly causes another person to fear immediate unlawful violence. This can range from forceful acts to threatening gestures. Section 39 also covers battery, which occurs when a person intentionally or recklessly applies unlawful force.
Common assault has a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment and/or a fine. A custodial sentence is very often determined by the frequency of the offender’s actions and it is common for first time offenders to just be given a fine instead.
For more information on this type of offence, give us a call on 01536 276300.