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An intentional or reckless act that causes someone to be put in fear of immediate physical harm. Actual physical contact is not necessary to constitute an assault (for example, pointing a gun at someone may constitute an assault (R v Lamb [1967] 2 QB 981): the word is often loosely used to include both threatening acts and physical violence (see battery). Assault is a form of trespass to the person and a crime as well as a tort: an ordinary (or common) assault, as described above, is a summary offence punishable by a fine and/or up to six months' imprisonment. Certain kinds of more serious assault are known as aggravated assaults and carry stricter penalties. Examples of these are assault with intent to resist lawful arrest (two years), assault occasioning actual bodily harm (five years), maliciously wounding or inflicting grevious bodily harm (five years), and maliciously wounding or causing grievous bodily harm with intent (life imprisonment). See also affray; sexual assault.

Subjects: Law.

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