Regina v Barnes: CACD 21 Dec 2004

The defendant appealed against a conviction for inflicting grievous bodily harm, after causing a serious leg injury in a football match when tackling another player.
Held: There was surprisingly little authority on when it was appropriate to commence proceedings after an assault during a sporting event. The starting point must be to recognise that sports had their own disciplinary procedures and standards, and normally criminal proceedings should be undesirable. An injured party might also expect to be able to claim civil damages. Prosecutions should be reserved for those situations where the act could properly be categorised as criminal. The level of injury had to be considered along with the presence of consent, since no consent could generally be given to actual bodily harm. Contact sports were an exception, when the court should look to see whether what happened went beyond what risk a player could reasonably be expected to have accepted. The emphasis of the word ‘maliciously’ would normally only cause confusion in a jury in these situations.
Lord Woolf CJ: ‘When no bodily harm is caused, the consent of the victim to what happened is always a defence to a charge. When at least bodily harm is caused, consent is generally irrelevant because it has been long established by our courts that, exceptional situations apart, as a matter of law a person cannot consent to having bodily harm inflicted upon him.’

Lord Woolf LCJ, Cresswell J, Simon J
Times 10-Jan-2005, [2004] EWCA Crim 3246, [2005] 1 Cr App R 30, [2005] 1 WLR 910, [2005] Crim LR 381, [2005] 2 All ER 113
Offences Against the Person Act 1861 20
England and Wales
CitedRegina v Dica CACD 5-May-2004
Reckless HIV transmission – Grievous Bodily Harm
The defendant appealed against his conviction for inflicting grievous bodily harm. He had HIV/Aids, and was found to have transmitted the disease by intercourse when the victims were not informed of his condition. It was not suggested that any rape . .
CitedRegina v Brown (Anthony); Regina v Lucas; etc HL 11-Mar-1993
The appellants had been convicted of assault, after having engaged in consensual acts of sado-masochism in which they inflicted varying degreees of physical self harm. They had pleaded guilty after a ruling that the prosecution had not needed to . .
CitedRegina v Cey 1989
Saskatchewan Court of Appeal – The defendant was accused of assault committed during the course of a game of ice hockey.
Held: (Majority) The game was very physical, but even so: ‘some forms of bodily contact carry with them such a high risk . .
CitedRegina v Cunningham CCA 1957
Specific Intention as to Damage Caused
(Court of Criminal Appeal) The defendant wrenched a gas meter from the wall to steal it. Gas escaped. He was charged with unlawfully and maliciously causing a noxious thing, namely coal gas, to be taken by the victim.
Held: Byrne J said: ‘We . .
CitedRegina v Mowatt CACD 20-Jun-1967
The defendant was attacked by his victim, and he hit his victim in the face. He was charged with wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm with an alternative of unlawful wounding also open to the jury. The judge gave no direction on the . .
CitedRegina v Savage; Director of Public Prosecutions v Parmenter HL 7-Nov-1991
The first defendant had been convicted of wounding. She had intended to throw beer over her victim, but her glass slipped from her hand, and cut the victim. The second defendant threw his three year old child in the air and caught him, not realising . .

Cited by:
CitedKonzani, Regina v CACD 17-Mar-2005
The defendant appealed conviction for inflicting grievous bodily harm on three women, by having unprotected sexual intercourse knowing that he was HIV positive, but without telling the women. Each contracted HIV. The allegation was that he had . .
CitedMeachen, Regina v CACD 20-Oct-2006
The appellant appealed his conviction for anal rape. He said the incident had been consensual. He had administered a date rape drug. He said again that this had been consensual. The prosecution alleged that the injuries left were inconsistent with . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.222533