Gbh Section 20

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ncs123 | 15:08 Tue 03rd Dec 2013 | Law
24 Answers

I have been charged with GBH section 20.

I was on a night out, as we left we found a girl who was crying. When asking her what happened she identified a man who has been abusive towards her. We stayed with the girl to ensure she was OK.

The man then started to be abusive and threatening towards us. The friend he was with eventually took him across the road but he continued shouting things over to us. We ignored him.

Eventually as we looked to leave the scene we crossed the road towards taxis and the aggressive guy walked towards us and right into my friend. My friend shoulder barged him out of the way and I have seen this coming together out of the corner of my eye. The aggressive guy then tries to hit my friend over the back of the head but misses and continues shouting and staring at my friend.

5 seconds later I hit the guy who tried to hit my friend as I thought there was a large chance of a second attempt at attacking my friend. Unfortunately, my punch broke his jaw which required surgery.

All of this is on CCTV. CCTV does not show the original girl crying or the guy shouting things at us.

I believe I acted in self defence (pre-emptive) towards my friend.

I am now unsure whether to plead guilty or go to trial by jury.

My barrister said the two problems are 1) there was a car acting as a barrier between my friend and the guy who tried to hit him when I threw a punch and 2) I've actively got closer to the guy I hit in order to throw a punch when I've said I found him aggressive and dangerous.

Please help!!


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Ignore wiltsbadger. That is just nonsense. The definition of self defence is now in a statute, which reflects what earlier cases have established as the law [ Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, section 76 and in particular section 76(7) ]. You have a perfect right to defend a friend. You are not expected to weigh with precision what force is strictly...
19:34 Tue 03rd Dec 2013
What help were you thinking of that could be provided?? You are already paying for legal advice. My best advice is to follow the advice of the person you are paying
Question Author
What help? Sorry what do you mean by this?

I have my friend who almost got hit as a witness and also another friend who confirms someone was shouting at us - however, he can not identify who was shouting. The "victim" who I hit has a friend who has given a very poor statement and there is a statement from a bouncer who saw the incident but doesn't know why it happened.
Here is a worthwhile read ref self-defence ncs.
You cannot plead self defence towards your friend. Your plea if you instruct your barrister to use it, will fail. Best advice is to plead not guilty to GBH and persuade the court through your barrister to plead guilty to ABH with mitigating circumstances.
Question Author
Self Defence can be defence of yourself, an other, property or to prevent a crime.
If you know this and if you have a barrister, what is your actual question?
Question Author
My actual question is: I have been arrested for GBH S20, I have broken someones jaw in what I believe was to to stop my friend being attacked further.

At the moment it is my word against the victim's word. The Police did not investigate deep enough to back up my claims about the victim being threaten and abusive. The CCTV simply looks like the victim walked into my friend, my friend shoulder barged him and I walked up and punched him.

I'm wondering how this may look in court to a jury.

Is it defendable or should I take an early plea now and save credit to get a reduced punishment?
you original question was "please help" which iss why i said what help do you want
Question Author
Just what should I do? Is my position defendable? My Solicitor and Barrister feel the defence is "runnable" but there are difficulties.

The bottom line I keep coming to was that I felt I acted correctly but I have caused a broken jaw against someone with is saying he was completely innocent and it was unprovoked.

i would plead not guilty but your solicitor should know best is the girl a witness for you that could help
Question Author
The girl who was originally upset is not a witness as she couldn't be traced. This is a huge shame as her account would have really supported the case.

The "friend" I spoke about who took the guy across the street was actually his cousin and she's given evidence which we're actually using in my defence. She's been "tendered" to my defence as a witness.

His cousin spoke about him getting into an argument with her friends earlier which caused all her friends to leave.

The guy appears to be a scumbag but this isn't my argument. My argument will be that he was aggressive and antagonistic - which he was! My only problem is proving that with a lack of CCTV.

I don't want it to look like nothing happened prior and I just went up and hit him...
Look you are paying for legal advice and you are asking us - complete strangers with agendas all over the place whether you are basically getting value for money.

yes you are

The more you pay the more its worth

if you go to trial make sure it is by Jury - 60% chance of acquittal - or used to be....and Good Luck
Question Author
My Solicitor and Barrister have both said it is my choice. I want to make sure I am making the right one by going to trial.

And can I ask where you got the figure 60% from?

What is this based on?
Ignore wiltsbadger. That is just nonsense. The definition of self defence is now in a statute, which reflects what earlier cases have established as the law [ Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, section 76 and in particular section 76(7) ]. You have a perfect right to defend a friend. You are not expected to weigh with precision what force is strictly necessary. There is no duty to retreat. If what you do seems reasonable and necessary to you at the time, when acting instinctively and honestly in defence, that is very strong evidence to show that it was self-defence.

Your barrister is concerned that the need for any self-defence had gone and you had gone from defence to attack, to revenge. That is as bad as it gets from the defence point of view, but it is very far from a serious difficulty. It is not as though all the violence had clearly ended and you then chased one party two hundred metres down the road and hit him with an iron bar ! What you did could fall under 'instinctively and honestly' (above)
Question Author
That is exactly the situation!

The person who was being aggressive continued to say things targeted at my friend - who was now the other side of a car.

I stepped closer instinctively when I saw the guy throw a punch and from being closer I then chose to throw a punch myself. It was one punch - I chose not to hit him again and instead removed myself from him.

At the time I felt it was my only option in order to stop the guy potentially pursuing my friend. He'd shown a tendency for violence in the build up and I wasn't going to let that happen.

I just hope the jury sees my point of view...!
And you need a jury trial. Juries are twelve people with more common sense than any three people who have decided they want to be magistrates. In general magistrates are middle-aged, middle class, and middle minded. There experience of life as it is lived is limited to people of that description. A jury is drawn from every age and background.

The figure of 60 per cent acquittal gets mentioned. I would put it at 50 per cent, but one court I knew over was at 80 per cent; we did a check once.
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I will be at Southwark Crown Court - Would this make any difference?
No. Southwark is no different from other Crown Courts in drawing its juries from local people. The area is pretty diverse. Ordinary assault cases like this are not affected by sentiment. We used to notice that , in good times, someone charged with nicking goods from his employer had an excellent chance of acquittal at Snaresbrook, whose catchment area included Fords. As soon as times got hard, the same juries would convict almost everyone charged with that ! Fortunately, section 20 is not affected by local economics !
Question Author
Thanks for your help FredPuli43!!

I feel if I have my say I stand a chance to clear my name.

It is concerning the police didn't even bother to investigate our claims the incident began because the person I eventually hit was being abusive to a girl. It seems they were only interesting in obtaining evidence that went against me.

Can I ask your background and how you are so informed?
Freddie is Counsel and is my favourite

60% - criminology course 1973 - doesnt seem to change. (david wilson and roger hood )

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