Read v Coker

Mentioned in Source 1.

Facts and decisions.

The claimant owed the defendant rent. When the defendant told the claimant to leave the premises the claimant refused. The defendant then ordered some of his employees to see the claimant off the premises. These men then surrounded the claimant rolled their sleeves up and told him that if he did not leave they would break his neck. D was a rent collector and entered C’s workshop and refused to go until the rent was paid. This was considered to be an assault because the conditions attached to the threat was not enough to nullify it. (source 1, lines 1-5)

How did it change the law?

This case changed the law because it stated that words without a threatening gesture can amount to an assault as this is intentionally and directly causing the victim to fear an imminent assault. There was something more than the threat of violence (source 1, lines 7-11)

Has it achieve justice in the law?

Where there is an attempt to commit a battery but this was prevented then it may still amount to an assault if the party threatened is put in fear of a possible battery. This case has achieved justice because the decision has held the defendant liable for attempting to collect rent through means of attempting to commit a battery.

What is its significance for the developments of the law?

The significance of this case is that it stated that the words attached to the condition were not enough to nullify it, meaning certain conditions can nullify the purposed fear of an application of force; however in this case they did not.

References to other cases.

This case stated that the conditions attached to the threat were not enough to nullify the immediate fear of threat, where as in Turberville v Savage D’s words were stated to have a negating effect.

It relates to R v Ireland, where no words at all were used. This case is only persuasive as it was heard by a criminal court, however it is expected that if a case arose in tort law it would follow this. This is in contrast to this case in which Byles Serjt and Jervis CJ believe no words can amount to assault. (source 1, line 11 and 16-19)

Also related is Thomas v NUM which outlined that for an act to be an assault it must be immediately foreseeable.

Innes v Wylie establishes that an assault must have some form of active movement by D, merely blocking somebody is not an assault. In Read v Coker the defendant was active.