Defences to assault charges
In sports, players consent to some forms of intentional body contact and to the risk of resulting injury. The bodily contact to which they consent is that which falls within the rules and customary norms of the game.
But some forms of bodily contact involve such a great risk of injury and distinct probability of serious harm as to go beyond what the players impliedly consent to or beyond what they are capable, in law, of consenting to. Conduct in a game that is meant to inflict injury will generally fall outside the immunity provided by implied consent.
The defence of consent does not extend to serious injury resulting from a fist fight or brawl between adults. However, the defence continues to apply to children who in the course of a fight unintentionally cause serious hurt.
Where the application of force is the result of carelessness or a reflex action, the criminal intent is lacking and no assault is committed. A reflex action need not be in response to an actual blow but may also occur in response to a perceived and immediate threat.
Defence of property
In general, a property owner or tenant can use force to eject a trespasser or to prevent a person from breaking into or forcibly entering their home. Valuable personal property can also be defended by its owner. The force used in these cases must be restricted to that which is necessary. Even if the victim was not a trespasser, the property owner or tenant may be acting in self defence if he reasonably believes that the victim is trespassing.
Prevention of a crime
Reasonable force can be used to prevent the commission of a serious offence that would be likely to cause immediate and serious injury or property damage. This defence is designed to permit an innocent bystander, who witnesses an offence being or about to be committed, to use force to prevent it.
A person who witnesses a breach of the peace is authorized to use reasonable force to stop it or prevent its continuation or renewal.
Protection of others
A person may use force to defend himself or anyone under his protection from assault. Persons under another's protection likely include immediate family and those with whom one has a close relationship. The force used must be limited to that which is necessary.
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