Derren Brown, photo courtesy of BBC
The BBC recently reported that a man watching illusionist Derren Brown’s show in the Palace Theatre, London, fell from the upper tier balcony after his wife pushed him “as a joke”.
“He fell and caught the upper circle on the way down, and was hanging from it,” Brown tweeted after the show.
Fortunately, the man was not injured, having caught hold of a lighting rig, and was rescued by audience members in lower balconies.
Given the circumstances, it’s unlikely that any criminal charges will result, but, if they did, it’s likely the charge would be one of common assault, contrary to s.39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
The CPS guidance states:
“An offence of Common Assault is committed when a person either assaults another person or commits a battery.
An assault is committed when a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend the immediate infliction of unlawful force.
A battery is committed when a person intentionally and recklessly applies unlawful force to another.”
Archbold, a practitioner text commonly used in the Crown Court, provided that:
“Recklessness in common assault, therefore, involves foresight of the possibility that the complainant would apprehend immediate and unlawful violence and taking that risk; in batter, it involves foresight of the possibility that the complainant will be subjected to unlawful force, however slight, and taking that risk.”
This is, perhaps, an example of how someone could be guilty of an assault, through their own recklessness.