Director of Public Prosecutions v K (a Minor): QBD 1990

The defendant a schoolboy aged 15 had spilled some acid during a chemistry lesson. He went to wash his hands, but took a test tube of acid with him. Hearing others coming and panicking, he poured it into an upturned hot air drier. He returned to class, intending to come back later. In the meantime, the next user had the acid squirted in his face causing him injury.
Held: The prosecutor’s appeal succeeded. The taking of a risk that someone else would use the machine before he could get back to it amounted to recklessness: ‘it was clear that the Defendant knew full well that he had created a dangerous situation and the inescapable inference was that he decided to take the risk of someone using the machine before he could get back and render it harmless or gave no thought to that risk.’ After referring to Clarence: ‘In the same way a Defendant, who pours a dangerous substance into a machine, just as truly assaults the next user of the machine as if he had himself switched the machine on. So, too, in my judgment would he be guilty of an assault if he was guilty of relevant recklessness.’


Parker LJ


[1990] 1 All ER 331, (1990) 91 Cr App R 23


Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 47


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Clarence CCCR 20-Nov-1888
The defendant knew that he had gonorrhea. He had intercourse with his wife, and infected her. She would not have consented had she known. He appealed his convictions for assault and causing grievous bodily harm.
Held: ‘The question in this . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Spratt CACD 2-Jan-1990
The defendant fired his air gun from a window hitting a six year old girl. He admitted a section 47 assault on the basis that he had been unaware of her presence, and had given no thought to any risk.
Held: Failure to give any thought to a . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Santa-Bermudez Admn 13-Nov-2003
The prosecutor appealed a finding of no case to answer on an accusation of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The victim, a police officer, was searching the pockets of an arrested person, when she was injured by a hypodermic needle. She had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.223560