R v Bollom [2003]

R v Bollom [2003] EWCA Crim 2846 revolved around the consideration of the victim's characteristics, including age, in determining whether the harm caused amounted to actual bodily harm.

The factual background of the case involved the defendant dropping his partner's baby during a night of drinking, resulting in bruising on the baby's leg. The baby had sustained additional injuries, but the evidence was unclear regarding how these injuries occurred. The defendant was initially convicted under Section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 for intentionally causing grievous bodily harm (GBH).

Upon appeal, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, and the conviction was substituted for assault occasioning actual bodily harm under Section 47. In delivering the judgment, Fulford J emphasised that the assessment of harm should be made based on the impact on the specific individual, taking into account their characteristics. The judgment clarified that injuries need not necessarily be life-threatening, dangerous, or permanent to constitute GBH. Instead, injuries should be viewed collectively to determine their seriousness. Additionally, injuries should be caused by one continuous course of conduct constituting a continuous assault.

The court acknowledged that the victim's age had to be considered when assessing the injuries. However, the judge failed to direct the jury to determine the defendant's responsibility in inflicting the injuries, creating uncertainty. Consequently, the court concluded that the conviction was unsafe, leading to the successful appeal.

This case illustrates the importance of a comprehensive assessment of harm tailored to the individual circumstances, especially when considering the characteristics of the victim.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.