Crime XXXXXXXVI – Assault VIII

  1. The fear must be immediate. The victim must apprehend fear at the time the assault was committed and not a day, a week, a month later or somewhere down the track.

In Tuberville v Savage (1669) the defendant placed his hands on the hilt of his sword and said to the victim “if it were not for the fact that it is assize-time (the assize judge was in town) I would not take such language from you”. It was held that the defendant’s acts and actions did not constitute an assault.  In Tuberville v Savage (1669) the defendant had clearly told the victim that no harm would come to him or her as long as the assize judge is in town.

In R v Constanza (1997) the defendant for a period of almost two years followed a female ex-colleague from work, sent her over 800 threatening letters and made numerous silent phone calls to her number.

The victim was eventually diagnosed by a doctor as suffering from clinical depression and anxiety due to fear caused by the defendant’s actions. The defendant was found guilty.

In R v Constanza (1997) the defendant was put in a situation where she had to live in constant fear of the defendant carrying out his threats and there was no respite. The threats were ongoing and to some extent it is possible to say that the threats and the defendant’s actions were designed and carried out to the cause the victim some sort of a breakdown.

In Smith v Superintendent of Woking Police Station (1983) the defendant frightened the victim by staring through the window of her ground floor flat. It was decided that despite the fact that the defendant was outside the building there was enough evidence to suggest that the victim was terrified and perceived immediate violence.

Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward

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