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The intentional or reckless application of physical force to another person. Common battery is a criminal offence (punishable with a fine and/or six months' imprisonment) as well as a tort, even if no actual harm results. The consent of the victim is a defence to common battery. If actual harm does result, however, the consent of the victim will provide a defence only when the injury is inflicted for good reason (e.g. in the course of a sport or medical treatment). Consent has been rejected as a defence where actual harm was inflicted in the course of consensual sado-masochistic activities (AG's Reference (No 6 of 1980)[1981] 2 All ER 1057). Compare assault; grievous bodily harm.

Subjects: Law.

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