Regina 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 meaning of ‘maliciously’ and the jury convicted under section 20. The defendant’s appeal against conviction on the ground of this non-direction failed.
Held: Following Cunningham, ‘maliciously in a statutory crime postulates foresight of consequence’, but the court regarded Professor Kenny’s more general statement as inapposite to the specific alternative statutory offences described in sections 18 and 20. ‘Maliciously’ imports an awareness that an act may have the consequence of causing some physical harm to some other person, even if the harm foreseen was relatively minor. ‘But where the evidence for the prosecution, if accepted, shows that the physical act of the accused which caused the injury to another person was a direct assault which any ordinary person would be bound to realise was likely to cause some physical harm to the other person (as, for instance, an assault with a weapon or the boot or violence with the hands) and the defence put forward on behalf of the accused is not that the assault was accidental or that he did not realise that it might cause some physical harm to the victim, but is some other defence such as that he did not do the alleged act or that he did it in self-defence, it is unnecessary to deal specifically in the summing-up with what is meant by the word ‘maliciously’ in the section . . In the absence of any evidence that the accused did not realise that it was a possible consequence of his act that some physical harm might be caused to the victim, the prosecution satisfy the relevant onus by proving the commission by the accused of an act which any ordinary person would realise was likely to have that consequence . . ‘
Diplock LJ, Brabin and Waller JJ
[1967] 3 All ER 47 CA, [1967] 3 WLR 1192, [1968] 1 QB 421, [1967] EWCA Crim 1
Offences against the Person Act 1861 18 20
England and Wales
CitedRegina v Cunningham CCA 1957
(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 . .

Cited by:
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 G and R HL 16-Oct-2003
The defendants, young boys, had set fire to paper and thrown the lit papers into a wheelie bin, expecting the fire to go out. In fact substantial damage was caused. The House was asked whether a conviction was proper under the section where the . .
CitedJones v First Tier Tribunal and Another SC 17-Apr-2013
The claimant had been injured when a lorry driver swerved to avoid hitting a man who stood in his path. He said that the deceased’s act of suicide amounted to an offence of violence under the 1861 Act so as to bring his own claim within the 2001 . .
CitedRegina 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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 January 2021; Ref: scu.182258