Where the complainant of an assault denied acting in a way which would give rise to self defence but the magistrates were not wholly convinced by her evidence, it was open to the magistrates to convict the defendant of assault on the basis of using excessive force in self defence.Appeal by way of case stated against a conviction for assaulting a person by beating contrary to s.39 Criminal Justice Act 1988 recorded at Barking Magistrates Court on 30 January 2003. The appellant ('M') and the victim ('J') had been in a relationship for a number of years and had a dispute on 2 June 2002. J denied acting in a way which would have given rise to self defence and M alleged self defence and the use of reasonable force. The magistrates found that M had not acted in self defence when pushing J away but had used more force than was reasonably necessary in the circumstances. M argued that this was perverse because the magistrates did not appear to be accepting, in total, the evidence of either witness. The question posed by the case stated was: where the complainant of an assault denied acting in a way which would give rise to self defence, and her evidence was not wholly convincing; and the defendant alleged self defence and use of reasonable force, whether it was possible to convict the defendant of assault on the basis of using excessive force in self defence.HELD: The magistrates were quite entitled to accept part of the evidence of one witness and part of the evidence of another witness. The magistrates found that there had been some attack or threatened assault by J on M who had then used excessive retaliatory force so that they were satisfied that M had committed the offence with which he had been charged. The answer to the question posed was yes.Appeal dismissed.

[2003] EWHC 2454 (Admin)

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