Crime XXXXXXXXXII – Battery IV

2. The act must be unlawful i.e. the act must be in breach of either common law or statute but if the defendant has reasonable excuse to use force than the act will not be construed as unlawful. A defendant has a valid excuse to use force:-

    • When he or she is trying to defend himself or herself. At common law anyone is allowed to use reasonable force to protect himself or herself.

    In R v Scarlett (1994)

    The defendant was a publican who was trying to evict a customer who was drunk. The defendant asked the customer to leave and he refused to do so and the defendant believed that the man was about to strike him so he pinned the man’s arms to his back and forcefully took him outside and left him by the wall of the lobby. The man fell backwards, down a flight of 5 steps, hit his head and died as a result. The defendant was tried and convicted for manslaughter. The defendant appealed.

    The appeal was allowed and the conviction was quashed. There was no evidence to indicate that the defendant had used excessive force.

    “They ought not to convict him unless they are satisfied that the degree of force used was plainly more than was called for by the circumstances as he believed them to be and, provided he believed the circumstances called for the degree of force used, he was not to be convicted even if his belief was unreasonable.”


    • When the defendant is trying to prevent a crime as per s.3 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967. The act reads as follows:-

    “A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large”.

    Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward

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