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Smith v Chief Constable of Woking (1983) 76 Cr App R 234

The defendant peered through the window of a young woman's home late at night. He had entered the garden and went up to the window and peered through a gap in the curtain. The woman saw him and screamed but he did not move but kept staring she phoned the police. He was charged with an offence under the Vagrancy Act 1864 which required proof of an assault. He was convicted and appealed contending that the prosecution had failed to establish the victim had apprehended immediate unlawful personal violence. He accepted that she was frightened but that she could not have been frightened of personal violence as he was outside the house and she was inside.


Conviction upheld

Kerr LJ:
"In the present case the defendant intended to frighten Miss Mooney and Miss Mooney was frightened. As it seems to me, there is no need for a finding that What she was frightened of, which she probably could not analyse at that moment, was some innominate terror of some potential violence. It was clearly a situation where the basis of the fear which was instilled in her was that she did not know what the defendant was going to do next, but that, whatever he might be going to do next, and sufficiently immediately for the purposes of the offence, was something of a violent nature. In effect, as it seems to me, it was wholly open to the justices to infer that her state of mind was not only that of terror, which they did find, but terror of some immediate violence. In those circumstances, it seems to me that they were perfectly entitled to convict the defendant who had gone there, as they found, with the intention of frightening her and causing her to fear some act of immediate violence, and therefore with the intention of committing an assault upon her: Accordingly, I would dismiss this appeal."
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