Generally, trespass is when there is a wrongful interference with someone’s property without any valid justification. The interference should always be direct and tangible either by a person or by a person through an object. For example, throwing stones at someone’s house would be rendered as trespass to property.
In addition to that, there is also a concept of trespass to a person. Trespass to a person is regarded as interference with someone’s body without any valid justification, also relates to a persons’ right to freedom from interference with his body or his right to personal liberty Trespass to a person can be in the forms of assault, battery, and wrongful confinement on one’s self. Trespass to a person is always related to wrongful interference with someone’s body. Trespass is consequential to bodily harm. Although, if someone has become a victim of assault, battery, or wrongful confinement, there are few remedies mentioned in civil law in which they could ask for in the court of law.
To further elaborate, the concept of trespass to a person. It is necessary to understand the above-mentioned categories in-depth for trespass to person i.e., the trespass of assault trespass of battery, and trespass of wrongful confinement.
- Battery: The wrong of battery consists in the intentional application of force to another person without any lawful justification. Its essential requirements are:
- There should be the use of force.
- The same should be, without any lawful justification.
Use of Force Even though the force used is very trivial and does not cause any harm, the wrong is still constituted. Physical hurt need not be there. The least touching of another in anger is a battery.
Mere passive obstruction, however, cannot be considered as the use of force. In Innes v. Wylie, a policeman unlawfully prevented the plaintiff from entering the club premises. It was held that “if the policeman was entirely passive like a door or a wall put to prevent from entering the room,” there was no assault.
- Assault: Tortious assault is the calculated threat of violence that causes a reasonable fear of immediate physical contact. Assault entails conduct reasonably leading to the battery, such as Intimidation, Apprehension of harm, Unlawful contact, Manifestation of violent propensities, and Threats
- Tortious assault is distinguished from the actual tortious battery which is the physical contact that may occur subsequent to tortious assault. In other words, tortious assault is the fear of battery that may or may not subsequently occur.
- For example, a clenched fist would constitute the assault, while the punch is the battery. Individuals do not have the right to give conditional threats or demands without lawful authorization.
- However, assault cannot be words alone. There must be some action or words accompanying action that leads to the apprehension of physical harm through unlawful contact.
- False imprisonment: This is the wrongful or unreasonable restraint of an individual’s liberty without lawful justification. There is NO need to show damages. For example, police officers may arrest or detain an individual without legal justification.
- One’s liberty cannot be restrained without authority in law or following reasonable conditions. In addition, partial restraint, obstruction or detention would not be subject to a successful cause of action for false imprisonment. The boundary preventing one from passing can be large, narrow, moveable, or fixed.
- The defense for false imprisonment is lawful justification, such as a lawful arrest. However, an unlawful arrest by a police officer may result in a cause of action for false imprisonment, as would battery.
To conclude, all the above forms of the trespass must be done without any lawful justification, and they must cause an apprehension of infliction of harm on the mind of the plaintiff, to constitute an assault, whereas to constitute a batter there must be use or apparent use of force on the body of the plaintiff, irrelevant of the fact that the force used to cause any harm, the application must be in such in a fit of form anger or malice. And lastly, to constitute wrongful detention, there must be a full restraint on a person’s liberty to move, and such must be with unlawful justification.
 Cole v. Turner, 6 Mod. 149
 (1844) 1 C. & K 257.
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