Read v Coker (1853) 13 Common Bench Reports 850
The claimant had visited the defendant’s shop to resolve a dispute. He was asked to leave, but he refused. The defendant along with others surrounded the claimant, rolled up their sleeves, and threatened to break his neck if he refused to leave. The claimant left and sued for assault.
1. Whether or not the threat to break the claimant’s neck if he refused to leave constituted an assault.
1. The threat constituted an assault.
The court per Jervis CJ stated: ‘If anything short of actual striking will in law constitute an assault, the facts here clearly showed that the defendant was guilty of assault. There was a threat of violence exhibiting an intention to assault, and a present ability to carry the threat into execution.’
The actions of the defendant could cause one to reasonably apprehend harm, and would thus constitute an assault.