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Offences Against a Person

We have a 24 hour helpline if you are accused of committing a crime and need advice on 07786655345 and all representation at the police station is free of charge. 

Please see below a list of the offences against a person that Fieldings Porter can provide legal representation and advice on.


If you (or someone you know) have been accused of murder, it is vital to seek legal advice immediately. Murder is defined as where a person of sound mind unlawfully kills any human being and possesses the intention to kill or cause serious bodily harm. It is one of the most serious criminal offences that may result in life imprisonment. 

Voluntary Manslaughter

Murder can be reduced to voluntary manslaughter if one of the 3 exceptions is successfully proven. The appropriate partial defences that reduce murder to voluntary manslaughter are:

  • Provocation – where the killing has come as a result of provocation which has led to a loss of self control  
  • Diminished responsibility – where the defendant admits to committing the offence, but argues he was suffering from an abnormality of the mind during the killing, meaning at the time of the death, his mental functions were diminished. For diminished responsibility, the defendant must have a recognised medical condition 
  • Suicide pact – a suicide pact occurs when 2 or more parties make a pact that they will commit suicide, and one party kills the other or assists another in the killing of a third person and he himself survives, then the offence is one of voluntary manslaughter 

Involuntary manslaughter

Involuntary manslaughter is where a person has caused the death of another, but didn’t have the intention to murder them. There are 2 categories of involuntary manslaughter: Gross negligence manslaughter and the death is the result of an unlawful and dangerous act.

Gross negligence manslaughter is committed when the death is the result of a negligent act or failure to act on the part of the defendant. It can occur when there is a lawful act, but it is done in such a way that it is truly criminal in its nature. The essential elements to be established for gross negligence involuntary manslaughter are – 

  • A duty of care must be owed to the person who has died 
  • The defendant must be in breach of this duty 
  • The breach of duty must have caused the death 
  • And the conduct must be so bad that in all circumstances it is criminal 

Unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter requires that the defendant, who has caused the death of another, has done so as a result of his unlawful and dangerous act. He must have intentionally committed the unlawful act, but not have intentionally caused the death that has resulted from it. 

Attempted murder

Attempted murder can also carry a sentence of life imprisonment depending on the circumstances. It does not matter that the person has not died; the intention to kill that person is enough. Attempted murder differs from murder in the sense that murder requires intent to kill or cause really serious harm, whereas this offence requires only that a person has the intention to kill. 

Attempted murder requires an element of preparation to suffice. According to the Criminal Attempts Act 1981, attempted murder must be more than ‘merely preparatory’. This is an element our solicitors can inspect in order to establish any mitigating circumstances and the minimum sentence available. 

Common assault

A person is guilty of assault if they inflict violence or put that person in fear of violence, meaning making them feel like you are about to inflict violence. This means that you can be guilty of assault even if you haven’t touched the victim, but made them feel like you are going to attack them.  

Assault by beating

This is where violence has been used in a common assault. This doesn’t have to include ‘beating’ as minor injuries are sufficient for assault by beating. The maximum sentence for common assault is 6 months imprisonment; therefore you should seek legal advice immediately. 

Actual bodily harm

This offence is where an assault has caused actual bodily harm. It is a more serious offence than common assault and assault by beating as some harm must have occurred. It need not be serious harm, but must be more than trifling and interfere with the health and comfort of the victim. 

Psychiatric harm in certain circumstances is sufficient for actual bodily harm. 

The maximum sentence for actual bodily harm consists of 5 years imprisonment. 

Unlawful wounding or grievous (serious) bodily harm (GBH) with or without intent

There are two offences under this title: Section 20 and Section 18.  Section 20 is where you have caused the unlawful wounding or GBH, and you have the intention to cause some kind of harm or are reckless as to causing harm. Section 18 is the more serious offence as it requires intention. You must have caused GBH or wounding with the intention to cause GBH.