Regina 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 any risk of injury, but was convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm. The questions arose of what intent to commit injury was required, and whether alternative convictions of actual bodily harm were available.
Held: Alternate convictions for actual bodily harm were available on proof of assault and of causing the injury. For a conviction under s20, an intention to cause injury, or foresight of injury, even if not serious, needs to be proved. The Act of 1861 contains ‘a rag-bag of offences brought together from a variety of sources with no attempt, as the draftsman frankly acknowledged, to introduce consistency as to substance or as to form.’
Although the first defendant may not have intended to injure her victim, she had shown an intention to apply unlawful force and that was sufficient mens rea to support a conviction for actual bodily harm. The second defendant had not foreseen any rsik of harm, and a conviction for actual bodily harm was substituted.

Lord Ackner
[1992] 1 AC 699, [1991] 3 WLR 914, [1991] 4 All ER 698 HL(E), [1992] UKHL 1, (1991) 92 Cr App R 68, [1991] UKHL 15, [1991] 94 Cr App R 193
Bailii, Bailii
Offences Against the Person Act 1861 20
England and Wales
FollowedRegina v Wilson (Clarence); Regina v Jenkins HL 1983
The court considered the application of the section on alternative verdicts available to juries on a trial for attempted murder. The allegations in a charge under section 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 or under section 9(1)(b) of the . .
ApprovedRegina v Roberts 1971
The complainant travelled in the appellant’s car. As he was driving, he had assaulted her in the car but not so as to cause her actual bodily harm. However, as his assault continued, she opened the car door and jumped out. This caused her to sustain . .
OverruledRegina 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 . .
ApprovedRegina 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 . .

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 . .
AppliedRegina v Mandair HL 20-May-1994
The House of Lords may itself determine the grounds of an appeal, and deal with matters undetermined by Court of Appeal. A verdict of ‘causing GBH’ (not inflicting) was not an offence unknown to law. A verdict of ‘causing GBH contrary to s20’ was . .
CitedB (A Minor) v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 23-Feb-2000
Prosecution to prove absence of genuine belief
To convict a defendant under the 1960 Act, the prosecution had the burden of proving the absence of a genuine belief in the defendant’s mind that the victim was 14 or over. The Act itself said nothing about any mental element, so the assumption must . .
ApprovedRegina v Burstow, Regina v Ireland HL 24-Jul-1997
The defendant was accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm when he had made silent phone calls which were taken as threatening.
Held: An assault might consist of the making of a silent telephone call in circumstances where it causes . .
CitedBici and Bici v Ministry of Defence QBD 7-Apr-2004
Claimants sought damages for personal injuries incurred when, in Pristina, Kosovo and during a riot, British soldiers on a UN peacekeeping expedition fired on a car.
Held: The incidents occurred in the course of peace-keeping duties. It was . .
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 . .
CitedRegina v Ireland CACD 14-May-1996
Silent telephone calls which resulted in psychiatric damage to the victim could constitute an ‘assault occasioning actual bodily harm’ for the purposes of section 47 of the 1861 Act. Swinton Thomas LJ said: ‘The early cases pre-date the invention of . .
CitedRegina v Boyea CACD 28-Jan-1992
The defendant was accused of having, with or without the consent of his victim, caused her physical damage by inserting his hand in her vagina and twisting it.
Held: ‘the extent of the violence inflicted . . went far beyond the risk of minor . .
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 . .
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.166137