What is Assault?



Assault comes in a picture before the battery. It happens when a person plans and tries to harm another person when a person commits an act of battery. Act of assault can be tried under civil lawsuits as well as criminal lawsuits.


Assault as a tort-


It is civil assault, in which the person can sue the respondent for the full extent of his loss, which may also include lost earnings and pain and suffering of the past and future.


The accused made a reasonable apprehension of the infliction of a battery on another person. When the accused creates his act by an apprehension in the mind of the person that he is going to commit battery against the person, the wrong of assault is completed.


An inappropriate comprises of an endeavour to do hurt as opposed to the damage being caused in this manner. In assault charges must incorporate direct action that is offensive or makes someone else dread their wellbeing. This unmistakably implies one can be liable of an attack regardless of whether he/she didn’t truly hurt the person in question


In R v St George the court held that if a person is holding a loaded gun to another person then this will be treated as an assault. Even if the gun is not loaded but the person is holding a gun from such a distance that it may cause injury then maybe an assault.



Assault as a crime –


It is a criminal assault in which the person can be put behind bars and he may be imprisoned, and may also have to pay a fine and reinstatement. But the fine would be paid to the government, and restitution would most likely cover only the medical bills, not your non-economic losses such as pain and suffering stemming from the incident.


A clenched fist would be treated as an assault, but throwing a punch and hitting the person will amount to battery. Under section- 351 of the Indian Penal Code define assault as criminal offences.


If any person plans or makes any gesture or does any action in which he is about to use criminal force on another person, then it is said to be an assault. If a person is using mere words then it does not amount to an assault, but the words used by the person may give to his gestures or preparation such a meaning as may make those gestures or preparations amount to an assault.


Elements of the crime of assault are:


An act intended to create harm: to prove the crime of assault then the person’s behaviour must be motivated to create a situation of fear or danger in the victim’s mind. Accident acts do not include allegations of assault.

A reasonable apprehension: the person must indicate and the victim must believe that the person’s conduct will harm me and he has the intention to cause it. The victim has reasonable circumstances and the accused action is showing that he will cause harm then assault has taken place.

Imminent harm must be there: there should be prima facie to do that harm. If a person shows a gesture to cause harm to another person then it should be immediate and cause a reasonable apprehension in the mind of any prudent person.


R v. Constanza in this case the defendant uses the word will show the gesture it may harm her, he used to follow her, send her letter and write offensive words on the door. The court overruled the judgement of R v. Meade and Belt and held that the word which is used by the defendant is offensive and does commit an assault.

Hopper v. Reeve

If a person is about to sit on a chair and the chair is pulled, there is an assault as long as he takes to fall to the ground. The moment he makes contact with the ground, it will become a battery.


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