Many people are surprised to learn that a person who commits an assault is criminally responsible for unintended injuries resulting from the assault. To the surprise of some criminal lawyers our Supreme Court decided that when force is unlawfully applied and bodily harm greater than “trifling or transitory” is objectively foreseeable the person committing the illegal act is responsible for whatever injuries occur. Thus, even if the person committing the act has no intention of causing serious bodily harm but an ordinary person would foresee more than very minor injury criminal responsibility attaches for consequences which might be the result of pure chance. For example, if a person punches someone in the face and the victim falls and hits their head on a sharp object and dies, the resulting charge will be manslaughter. Many participants in road rage incidents have learned this to their great chagrin.
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