In ordinary everyday use, the word “assault” means to at
tack, beat, or hit somebody. Thus, an ordinary parlance the word assault is used to include both assault and battery. However, in law of tort, assault and battery are two different and separate torts. Under the criminal code Act, the word “assault” is often used to cover assault and battery.
Accordingly, in criminal proceedings, they are usually charged together as assault and battery. In view of this reason, the criminal code Act defines various types of assault. Assault and tort. Since trespass to person is a tort and crime, a victim may seek redress in both civil and criminal law. However, civil action is often not brought unless the tort or his employer has money and can afford to pay compensation otherwise, criminal action is often brought in the magistrate court by the police on behalf of the state as part of the public policy of the state of sanction crime and maintain law and order. Furthermore, assault and battery often occur together because they are often committed concurrently or simultaneously. Thus, they are often charged together. Thus, they are often charged together in criminal proceeding just as civil claim is often brought for both because one seldom occurs without the other. In western societies, compensation may be awarded in the Criminal proceedings, for instance under the English Criminal Justice Act 1988 which is administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and thus prevent the need for a separate civil suit to recover compensation.
However, in this text, we shall examine assault in the context of the law of tort. According to C.F.PADFIELD, assault.
“Is an attempt or threat to apply unlawful force to the person of another whereby that other person is put in fear in violence”
Gilbert Kodilinye defined assault as: “any act which puts the plaintiff in fear that battery is about to be committed against him”.
In other words, an assault is threatening to harm or apply force to another person with the present ability to carry out the threat. An assault is any act which makes another person to fear the immediate application of unlawful force. It is threatening to do violence to a person short of actually striking the person. It is any intentional or reckless act which makes another person to fear the immediate application of physical harm. It is any threat to apply unlawful force to another person the act must imply personal violence. Therefore any act, gesture or menance by the defendant which put’s the plaintiff in fear of immediate application of force to his person is an assault. Accordingly, any unlawful act of a person which puts another person in reasonable fear of battery is an assault.
As opposed to criminal law, in the law of tort, an assault is eventually,
1) An attempt or threat to apply force or violence to another person.
2) With the apparent ability to carry it out.
Which puts the person in reasonable fear of battery con tact is unnecessary.
The purpose of the law of Assault
The purpose of the tort of assault is to prohibit putting a person in fear of physical interference with another person, including revenge attack. The tort of trespass to person is actionable per se on mere occurrence, and does not require proof of damage for a successful claim.
The offence that is committed or injury that is done and which the law seeks to prevent, is the putting of people should be free to go about their lives without being threatened or subjected to fear of violence, except for instance, by the due process of law, generally, direct and intentional trespass are dealt with by trespass to person, whilst indirect and unintentional acts are covered by negligence, for instance, road accident cases, and so forth.
Assault is wider in criminal law.
Assault is wider under criminal law. In criminal law the offence of assault includes both assault and battery. Accordingly, under the criminal code Act an accused is usually charged with assault and battery.
Examples of Assault
Examples of assault are many and includes threatening a person with a knife, broken bottle, menances, advancing towards a person and shaking your fist and threatening to beat him up, or striking at a person with a stick but missing the person so forth. All these are threats of violence and are assaults. It is not necessary that the victims state of mind should be one of fear, or alarm. It is enough, if the victim merely expects the application of the unlawful force, to his body because subjection of a person to fear of immediate application of unlawful force, is what the law of tort seeks to prohibit.
Elements of assault: What needs to be proved:
The elements a plaintiff needs to prove to succeed in a claim for assault are:
1. That there was a threat to apply force
2. That the act will put a reasonable person in fear of battery.
In other words, that it was reasonable for the plaintiff to expect immediate battery.
That there was a threat to apply force.
There can be assault without battery. In assault it is not necessary to prove that the plaintiff was actually put in fear or experienced fear. What needs to be proved is that it was reasonable for the plaintiff to expect immediate battery. As a general principle, pointing an unloaded gun or even a model, or imitation gun at a person who does not know it is unloaded, or that it is a model gun and therefore harmless is an assault.
The defendant pointed a gun he knew to be unloaded at the plaintiff who did not know that it was unloaded, at such a distance that the complainant could have been hurt if the gun was fired. On a claim for assault the court held, that there was an assault, even though the gun was unloaded, because the complainant was put in fear of being shot.
The defendant policeman who stood motionless in order to block a door way was held not to have committed assault on the plaintiff by so doing.
Smmhvisupt of working police station:
The defendant appellant frightened the complainant by looking through her bedroom window late in the night. The court held that the accused was guilty of assault as the complainant was put in fear of personal violence.
The defendant ad