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The appellants appealed against their convictions, contending that a person could not guilty be of assault occasioning actual bodily harm or unlawful wounding in respect of acts carried out in private with the consent of the victim. Accordingly, a person could be convicted of unlawful wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, contrary to ss 20 and 47 of the 1861 Act, for committing sado-masochistic acts which inflicted injuries which were neither transient nor trifling, notwithstanding that the acts were committed in private, the person on whom the injuries were inflicted consented to the acts and no permanent injury was sustained by the victim.
It followed that the appellants had been properly convicted and that their appeals would be dismissed (see p 83 h j, p 84 g, p 90 h j, p 91 b c g to j, p 92 a to c, p 93 b c, p 94 d e, p 100 b to h and p 101 c, post).
Lawrence Kershen QC, Eleanor Sharpston and Pauline Hendy (instructed by Geffens, Walsall) for the appellant Brown.
Baroness Mallalieu QC, Adrian Fulford and Eleanor Sharpston (instructed by J P Malnick & Co) for the appellants Lucas and Jaggard. My Lords, the appellants were convicted of assaults occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to s 47 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861.
In earlier days some other forms of violence were lawful and when they ceased to be lawful they were tolerated until well into the nineteenth century.
Duelling and fighting were at first lawful and then tolerated provided the protagonists were voluntary participants.
In s 20 the words ‘unlawfully’ means that the accused had no lawful excuse such as self-defence.
In the present case each of the appellants intentionally inflicted violence upon another (to whom I shall refer as ‘the victim’) with the consent of the victim and thereby occasioned actual bodily harm or in some cases wounding or grievous bodily harm.HOUSE OF LORDS LORD TEMPLEMAN, LORD JAUNCEY OF TULLICHETTLE, LORD LOWRY, LORD MUSTILL AND LORD SLYNN OF HADLEY 1, 2, 3, 7 DECEMBER 1992, 11 MARCH 1993 The appellants belonged to a group of sado-masochistic homosexuals who over a 10-year period from 1978 willingly participated in the commission of acts of violence against each other, including genital torture, for the sexual pleasure which it engendered in the giving and receiving of pain.The passive partner or victim in each case consented to the acts being committed and suffered no permanent injury.Even when violence is intentionally inflicted and results in actual bodily harm, wounding or serious bodily harm the accused is entitled to be acquitted if the injury was a foreseeable incident of a lawful activity in which the person injured was participating.Surgery involves intentional violence resulting in actual or sometimes serious bodily harm but surgery is a lawful activity.