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R v Bollom (2004) 2 Cr App R 6

The defendant was convicted of GBH under s.18 OAPA 1861 for injuries he inflicted on his partner's 17 month old daughter. The injuries consisted of various bruises and abrasions. He appealed against his conviction on the grounds that the judge should have directed the jury that in assessing whether the injuries were serious enough to amount to GBH they should not take into account the age of the victim.


The jury are entitled to take into account the particular characteristics of the victim. However the judge failed to direct the jury that they must be sure that the injuries came from the one assault. The expert medical witness suggested some of the injuries were older than others. The defendant's conviction for GBH was therefore quashed and substituted with ABH.

Fulford J:

"Mr Davies, on behalf of the appellant …, submits that the injuries should be assessed without reference to the particular victim. He suggests the age, health or any other particular factors relating to the person harmed should be ignored when deciding whether the injuries amounted to really serious harm. We are unable to accept that proposition. To use this case as an example, these injuries on a 6 foot adult in the fullness of health would be less serious than on, for instance, an elderly or unwell person, on someone who was physically or psychiatrically vulnerable or, as here, on a very young child. In deciding whether injuries are grievous, an assessment has to be made of, amongst other things, the effect of the harm on the particular individual. We have no doubt that in determining the gravity of these injuries, it was necessary to consider them in their real context."
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