LEGAL EAGLE: My son had a fight now the police are involved - what should I do?

My son was on a night out a few months ago and he somehow got involved in a fight. He told me a man went to hit him so he punched the male to get him away. The Police have said that they want to interview my son for assault as the male has some injuries.

Police want to interview my son.
Police want to interview my son.

We are extremely worried about what might happen and are concerned about the level of the man’s injures.

Assault involves the unlawful application of force on a person. The seriousness of the injury will

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determine the level of the Assault.

There are three main types of Assaults: Common Assault, Actual Bodily Harm (ABH), and Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH).

Common Assault is where a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to suffer or apprehend immediate unlawful violence, where any injury is minor. If charged this can only be dealt with at the Magistrates Court.

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (commonly referred to as ABH) is committed when a person intentionally or recklessly assaults another, and there is proof of Actual Bodily Harm. Bodily harm includes any injury which is more serious such as a breaking of the skin or breaking a tooth. Such injury need not be permanent but must be more than transient and trifling and can include psychological harm. This can be dealt with at the Magistrates or Crown Court.

Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) involves the most serious injuries. The less serious version of GBH can be caused recklessly and can be dealt with at the Magistrates or Crown Court but the more serious version of the offence requires evidence of an intention to cause really serious injury and can only be dealt with at the Crown Court.

Sentencing will depend on the facts of the specific case and the more serious the assault the greater the risk of a prison sentence.

Self-defence may apply in your son’s case but would require him to show that he used only a level of force that he, subjectively, believed was necessary at the time. A pre-emptive strike is also capable of amounting to self-defence.

Your son should instruct a solicitor immediately who specialises in criminal defence. He should also ensure he has a solicitor at the Police Station for interview. Advice at the police station is free, independent and confidential. It is likely that your son may be asked to attend for interview

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voluntarily at this stage given he has not yet been arrested.

To speak to a solicitor please contact Ben Hoare Bell LLP on 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected] Visit for further information.