ASSAULTA woman who consented to the touching of her breasts believing that the defendant was medically qualified consented only to the nature of the act and not its quality.

There could therefore be an indecent assault as no genuine consent was given.

(R v Tabassum 2000 Crim LR 684, distinguishing R v Richardson [1999] QB 444 on grounds that are hard to identify).Battery could take place even though indirectly through the involvement of a third party.

In Haystead v DPP 2000 Crim LR 758 a man hit a woman causing her to drop her child.

This could amount to a battery on the child.PUBLIC ORDERThe courts have made it increasingly easy for the prosecution to make out the initial ingredients of the offence of violent disorder.

A prima facie case was made out by evidence that the defendant was one of a group running through a populated area.

There was evidence that he knew others of the group were armed and intended to involve themselves in violence even though there was no evidence he himself was armed or assaulted anyone.

The act of running was prima facie a threat of violence (R v Church 200 0 4 Archbold News 3).

Furthermore the offence could be made out when the conduct of three or more gave off an 'aura' of menace R v Brodie Young and Mould 2000 Crim LR 775.There could be an imminent threat under s.4 of the Public Order Act 1986 conveyed by a letter threatening to detonate a bomb which did not specify a precise time.

It was the state of mind of the victim which was crucial and this would be one of immediate fear (DPP v Ramoz 2000 Crim LR 768).

However, in an important finding in relation to a racially aggravated offence based on a crime under s.4A Public Order Act 1986 it was held that it was not inevitable that an accused had intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress by using the words 'black bastard' in an argument over debt (DPP v Weeks (2000) The Independent, 17 July).

The case emphasises the need to prove a basic offence before issues of racial aggravation arise.

In DPP v Pol 2000 Crim LR 756 it was emphasised that for there to be a racially aggravated offence there must be evidence of racial motivation or hostility.

The phrases 'white man's arse licker' and 'brown Englishman' were not necessarily aggravating when both involved were of Asian origin.

The hostility in question was not based on the victim's racial membership.HARASSMENTLau v DPP 2000 Crim LR 580The court considered a course of conduct in relation to harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act.

It indicated that the fewer the incidents and the wider they were apart the less likely a finding of harassment on the basis of a course of conduct could be made.SHARP-BLADED INSTRUMENTSR v Daubney 164 JP 519The Court of Appeal considered the meaning of the phrase 'have with you' in relation to the offence under s.139 Criminal Justice Act 1988.

It emphasised that knowledge of the presence of the blade in question is required.

The phrase is therefore much tighter than possession.

While one could be guilty of possession by control alone, one could not have a blade with one where one had forgotten it was present.

A belief that the knife was somewhere in a vehicle was held to be insufficient knowledge, control and proximity.

The case appears an effective remedy to the unsatisfactory decision that forgetfulness does not amount to a good reason.