Common assault

Common assault

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Legislation: Criminal Justice Act 1988 s 39

Racially aggravated common assault: Crime and Disorder Act 1998 s 29

Definition: Where a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend the immediate infliction of unlawful force.

Explanation: Common assault is charged where there are no injuries caused or the injuries caused are not serious.

Mode of trial: Summary only (basic offence) Triable either way (racially aggravated offence)

Maximum sentence: 26 weeks custody (basic offence) 2 years (racially aggravated offence)

Examples: Slaps, punches, kicks where the injuries caused are not serious. Physical contact such as pulling, grabbing or pushing may also constitute common assault.

CPS guidance: Although any injury that is more than ‘transient or trifling’ can be classified as actual bodily harm, the appropriate charge will be one of Common Assault where no injury or injuries which are not serious occur.

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Lyndon is the General Editor of Current Sentencing Practice and the Criminal Appeal Reports (Sentencing)