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There are many ways to evaluate Law and Sentences on specific
non-fatal offences, one way in doing so is looking at the criticisms of
non-fatal offences. The first criticism is the language of the laws being old
(in the Act itself) as well as confusing. For example, in GBH section 20 and 18
it uses terms such as “Malicious” in modern day society nobody uses words like
this, this therefore doesn’t seem to be modernised, this was meant to define to
be: “Recklessly” but gives the impression it infers committing something in a
nasty/hateful manner, it was meant to be for the Mens Rea but Mens Res has been
defined as “with intent”. In addition to this, the term “assault” in modern day
society implies physical injuries to a victim after beating them. But, in terms
of law it is just making somebody feel fear, this is misleading so when a person
in court claims they have been assaulted they really mean they have been a
victim of either: GBH, ABH or a Battery depending on the seriousness of the
injuries. Another criticism I am going to talk about is the fact that Mens Rea
in Section 47 doesn’t need any extra Mens Rea, it doesn’t have the requirement of
the defendant to foresee a risk/injury, like in the case R v Roberts where the defendant offered to give the victim a lift
and then demanded her to have sex with him as she said no he drove off with her
at a high speed leading her to injure herself by jumping out. The defendant
claimed that he was unaware of risks and didn’t mean for the victim to suffer
from ABH, even though he put her in a fearful state of mind leading to her
jumping out of his car. The third criticism I’m going to talk about is the lack
of the seriousness needed in the actual harm sector in Section 20 GBH, the only
thing the prosecution need to show is that the defendant had intention to cause
some harm, which could be the smallest form of harm. Like in the case R v Mowatt where the defendant beat the
victim unconscious due to the victim confronting the defendant about the defendant’s
partner who helped steal form the victim. It was decided that the Intention/recklessness
to cause a wound and/or GBH doesn’t need proving. Another criticism I’m going
to talk about is the actual offence known as a “Battery” being misleading.
Relating to Battery another criticism is there is no legal definition to define
both “assault & battery” the only thing close to a definition is the requirements
to cause them. Regarding ABH & GBH the separation doesn’t seem to be visible,
it is actual the courts that make the decision of what causes serious harm, but
everyone has different opinions, especially when both ABH and GBH include psychological
pain because it’s hard to decide what extent of it comes under what offence,
with no boundary as a guidance there will be no proper way in deciding. The final
criticism I will be talking about is using a “wound” to separate Section 18
from 20 being useless as there should only be one Section for GBH because of
the case Moriarty v Brookes where
the defendant hit a customer and used force to remove him from a pub. He was
guilty as he broke the layers of the skin, but compared to a needle prick the
seriousness is clearly different, so I believe if they had one Section they can
easily charge somebody with GBH and giving them a suitable sentence rather that
deciding over a wound.

GBH Section 18 is the offence of inflicting either a wound
or GBH. The Actus Reus in Section 18 is to wound/ cause GBH to the victim. The
Mens Rea is the direct intention to cause GBH and not recklessness. The maximum
sentence for GBH Section 18 is 25 years as it’s the more serious out of Section
20 and 18. In addition to this, GBH Section 20 is the offence of inflicting a wound
or GBH to the victim. The Mens Rea for this is the intention/ recklessness to
cause some harm to the victim. The maximum sentence for GBH Section 20 is 5
years in prison as it’s the least serious of the two. Moreover Section 47 ABH,
can be caused by either an assault or battery. The Mens Rea for this is
intention or recklessness to commit the assault or battery or both. In ABH Section
47 touching someone else’s clothes or spitting on them can amount to a battery.
Even though they do not physically injure the victim, but they could possibly
psychologically injure them, this is unfair as they will be charged under ABH Section
47 and will have the same sentence as someone who has amounted GBH. Also, an
assault can just be committed by saying something to make the victim feel
immediate fear. An example of GBH Section 20 is breaking someone’s bone. ABH Section
47 is caused by the slight direct touch. By knowing this it is clear that the
sentencing for these non-fatal offences have not been thought through due to
the difference is the elements of committing the crimes. There are some similarities
in the crimes such as intention, but nothing major that fit GBH Section 20 and ABH
Section 47 into the same sentencing. Therefore, I believe that the sentencing
for these opposite crimes should be reconsidered. However, the maximum sentence
for GBH Section 18 is 25 years. This is a very big gap between the non-fatal
offences even though GBH Section 20 and Section 18 are very similar in terms of
the wounding, the problem seems to be if the sentence length should be
dependent on the intention of causing GBH such as Recklessness or Direct
intention? I believe Section 18 and Section 20 should both have the same
sentence such as 10-15 years in prison where the judge is able to decide on the
length of the sentence depending on how severe the victim’s injuries are.

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