Assaults
and battery basically mean the same thing and eventually prosecuted together
and it is often paired together as one offense. But in fact, they are two separate
crimes under the same umbrella.1In
most jurisdictions, assault
and battery
is a crime committed when a person attempts to physically harm another person,
and acts in a way that causes the victim to fear that he will be harmed. While
assault and battery were traditionally classified as two very distinct crimes,
modern laws pair them together as one offense.2

Battery
is defined as an intentionally touching of, or application of force to the body
of another person in a harmful or offensive manner, it is always confused with
assault, which is merely the act of threatening or placing another person in
fear. A battery is always preceded by an assault, which is why the two terms
are often used transitionally or combined as assault and battery.3

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II. HOW THE CRIME
OF ASSAULT AND BATTERY ISCOMMITTED

Assault
and battery occurs when one tries to or does severe injury to another person,
or cause injury through use of deadly weapon or may not use weapon but conduct
that crime and injures another person.

It
is also done when one tries to or does physically strike another or acts in a
threatening manner to put another person in fear of immediate harm.4

III. PENALTIES FOR
ASSAULT AND BATTERY

The
penalties and sentence for assault and battery convictions can vary widely
depending on the law of the state where the offense was committed, as well as
the circumstances of each case.

Punishments
range from fines to imprisonment, depending on severity of the offense and the
offender’s criminal history.

Individuals
who are first time offenders may receive more leniencies while those who have
an extensive criminal record or repeated instances of violent conduct or those
that have been involving in such crime may receive stiffer penalties.5

III.1. PENALTIES FOR ASSAULT AND
BATTERY IN RWANDA

According
to Rwandan law as it is stipulated in penal code, if assault and battery result
from lack of foresight and preventative measure, the offender will be liable to
a term of imprisonment of eight(8) days to two(2) months and a fine of one
hundred thousand (100, 0000) to five hundred thousand (500,000) Rwandan francs.6

Any
person who committed aggravated assault and battery and intentionally causes
injuries to another person is liable to a term of imprisonment of six (6)
months to two(2) years and a fine of one hundred thousand (100, 0000) to five
hundred thousand (500,000) Rwandan francs. If the offender has acted with the
ambush, this person is liable to term imprisonment of two (2) years to three(3)
years and a fine of one hundred thousand (100, 0000) to five hundred thousand
(500,000) Rwandan francs.7

V. DEFENSES TO
ASSAULT AND BATTERY

There are defenses that a person can
use to defend himself for committing the crime of assault and battery, and the
most popular defense is the claim of self-defense.

The defendant will argue that he
committed the assault and battery only because it was necessary for him/her to
protect himself/herself from attack. In other situations, the defendant may
seek to prove that he did it to protect another person from harm.Although some person
may have been touched in a forcible or offensive way, the defendant’s actions
are justified because they were prompted by a desire to help or rescue the
person who was in a dangerous situation and this may be the major cause for
committing this crime.8

III.2. EXAMPLE OF A CASE ON ASSAULT
AND BATTERY

An example of a case on assault and battery is the
case of a professional footballer who sexually assaulted a twenty-six years
old, police officer Rebecca Sledge 9

The
case of MUNYANTORE Celestin who was accused of committing assault and battery
against NYIRAHABIMANA Placida that later led to death.

It
is said that MUNYANTORE Celestin committed a crime that is punished by the
article 151 of law no 01/06/2017of 02/05/2012 constituting the penal
code and the accused pled guilty to the case against him because he accepted
that he pushed NYIRAHABIMANA and fallen down. So, this means that he should be
punished according to the law that punishes assault and battery in Rwanda10

 

VI. CONCLUSION

To
sum it up, in most states assault and battery are crimes that can be prosecuted
by the government and the crime of assault and battery pertains to act of
physical violence committed by one person against another and as a criminal
offense it is punishable by incarceration (imprisonment), fine, orboth and a
single act can be subject of both criminal prosecution and personal injury
lawsuit for damages.

1X-see,
‘definition of assault and battery’ available at accessed
on accessed on 9th,Dec, 2017 at 08:00pm

2X-see,
‘similarity between assault and battery’  Available ataccessed on
9th, Dec,2017 at 06:15pm

3X-see, ‘definition of assault and
battery’ Available at  accessed
on 7th, Dec,2017 at 02:30pm

 

4X-see,’how
assault and battery are committed’ available at . accessed
on 9th, Dec, 2017 at 08:20pm

5X-see, ‘penalties
for assault and battery’ available ataccessed on 7th, Dec,2017 at 03:30pm

6X-see, Art. 158 of
organic law no 01/2012/OL of 02/05/2012 instituting the penal code, O.G.,
no special of 14 June 2012.

7X-see, Art. 148
of organic law no 01/2012/OL of 02/05/2012 instituting the penal
code, O.G., no special of 14 June 2012.

8X-see, ‘defense
for assault and battery’ available ataccessed on
9th, Dec, 2017 at 07:45pm

 

9L. James
Freeman, bad bitch 6: assault &
battery, 2013, p.4.available at

10MHG Intermediate court, 06/07/2017, MUNYANTORE Celestin vs.
NYIRAHABIMANA Placidia, judgment no R.P
00257/2017/TGI/MHG,para.11 also available at
accessed on 7th, Dec,2017 at 02:30