Moriarty v Brooks – Case Summary

Moriarty v Brooks


Citations: (1834) 6 Carrington and Payne 684; 172 ER 1419.


The complainant and the defendant got into an argument in the defendant’s public house over a drink. The defendant approached the complainant as if to attack him. This caused the complainant to adopt a fighting stance. The defendant proceeded to beat him, cutting his face. After the fight was over, the defendant did not kick the complainant out of the public house.


The complainant brought criminal proceedings for assault and battery. The defendant argued that he was justified in his actions in light of the complainant’s aggressive posture.


The court convicted the defendant. He had assaulted and battered the complainant without justification.

This Case is Authority For…

A person who provokes an assault through their own aggressive conduct cannot rely on self-defence and similar justifications.

The definition of a ‘wound’ for the purposes of criminal offences is a break in the skin.