Offences Table

Name of Offence

Act/ Sentence

Actus Reus

Key Cases

(Actus Reus)

Mens Rea

Key Cases

(Mens Rea)

Maximum Sentence

Other Notes


Section 39 – Criminal Justice Act (1988)

Cause another person to fear immediate unlawful personal violence.

·         Smith V Chief Constable of Woking (1983)

·         Ireland (1983)

·         Tuberville v Savage (1669)


To intentionally or subjectively recklessly cause fear to another person.

·         Cunningham (1957)


6 months (due to Magistrates Court’s jurisdiction)

Magistrates Court


Section 39 – Criminal Justice Act (1988)

Application of unlawful force.

·         Fegan v Metropolitan Police Commander (1969)

·         DPP v K (1990)

·         Haystead (2000)

·         DPP v Santana-Bermudez (2003)

Intentionally or recklessly applying unlawful force.

·         Cunningham (1957)

12 months imprisonment, Level 5 Fine under Section 39 Criminal Justice Act (1988)

Magistrates Court

Actual Bodily Harm

Section 47 of the Offences Against the Persons Act. (1871)

Application of unlawful force (e.g. bruising)

This includes psychiatric harm.

·         DPP v Santana-Bermudez (2003)

·         T v DPP (2003)

Defendant must intend to subject the victim to unlawful force or be reckless with regard whether the victim fears or is subjected to unlawful force.

·         Roberts (1971)

·         Savage (1991)

5 years

Crown Court

Grievous Bodily Harm

Section 20 & Section 18

 Of the Offences Against the Persons Act


Section 20 requires the defendant to wound or inflict Grievous Bodily Harm on the victim. GBH means ‘really serious harm’ but doesn’t require it to be life threatening.


Section 20 can be used for attacks with weapons, attacks leaving permanent disability, loss of blood, etc.


Section 18 requires a section 20 offence where the defendant has done so with specific intent – either to cause some GBH or to avoid arrest.

·         Bollom (2004)

·         Dica (2004)

For the mens rea the defendant must intend to cause another person some harm or be subjectively recklessly as to whether he suffers some harm.

·         Parmenter (1991)

5 years for section 20 offences.


Life Sentence

Indictable Offence

Under section 18 offences.

Crown Court