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R v Coney (1882) 8 QBD 534

The defendants were engaged in prize fighting. It was held that prize fighting in public was unlawful, notwithstanding the consent of the individuals involved.

Stephens J:

"When one person is indicted for inflicting personal injury upon another, the consent of the person who sustains the injury is no defence to the person who inflicts the injury, if the injury is of such a nature, or is inflicted under such circumstances, that its infliction is injurious to the public as well as to the person injured. But the injuries given and received in prize-fights are injurious to the public, both because it is against the public interest that the lives and the health of the combatants should be endangered by blows, and because prize-fights are disorderly exhibitions, mischievous on many obvious grounds. Therefore the consent of the parties to the blows which they mutually receive does not prevent those blows from being assaults."
Back to lecture outline on consent in criminal law