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Not Guilty ABH Wood Green Crown Court 2023

We were privately instructed privately to represent our client who faced a charge of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) at Wood Green Crown Court. The prosecution alleged that whilst at a ‘stag do’ our client punched the complainant four times in the face after he asked our client about his wife in a suggestive manner. CCTV evidence did not cover the alleged assault incident but did show the client leaving the takeaway shop and the complainant pursuing him and attempting to assault the client.

We prepared our client's case thoroughly for trial and sought full disclosure of the prosecution case. 

The prosecution relied on the witness testimony of the complainant and an independent witness. Our client gave evidence that he struck the complainant pre-emptively in self-defence. The jury were out for just over two hours and returned a not-guilty verdict.

The defendant was able to make a claim for the recovery of his costs by way of a defence costs order. Our client was delighted with the outcome and maintains his good character. 

Pre-emptive strikes The Law 

There is no rule in law to say that a person must wait to be struck first before they may defend themselves, (see R v Deana, 2 Cr App R 75).


Failure to retreat when attacked and when it is possible and safe to do so, is not conclusive evidence that a person was not acting in self defence. It is simply a factor to be taken into account rather than as giving rise to a duty to retreat when deciding whether the degree of force was reasonable in the circumstances (section 76(6) Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008). It is not necessary that the defendant demonstrates by walking away that he does not want to engage in physical violence: (R v Bird 81 Cr App R 110).


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