An assault is the attempt to do hurt to another’s person together with the present ability and intention to do the act . There should be a reasonable apprehension of using of force . Mere oral threat or gesture without the present ability or immediate intention to carry it out is not an assault. Or mere laying of hands on another is also not assault . Essence of assault is putting a person in present fear of violence with ability and intention of the wrong doer.
The wrong of assault may be explained by an example .
A can sue B , for assault , if B points a gun to A threateningly , though B knows that the gun is not loaded and A apprehends that it is loaded .
The following are the three main ingredients of assault .
i) There must be gesture or preparation to constitute a threat of force .
ii) The gesture or preparation must cause a reasonable apprehension of force .
iii) The offender must have present ability to carry out the threat into action .
In the leading case of Stephens Vs. Myers , the plaintiff was chairman of a meeting of a local Church – committee . The defendant having been very vociferous , a resolution was passed , and carried by a large majority , that he should be turned out . Upon this , the defendant said he would rather pull the chairman out of the chair than be turned out of the room , and immediately advanced with his fist clenched towards the chairman with an intention to strike him . Justice Tindal observed that it was an assault in the eye of law .