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Police v Greaves, [1964] NZLR 295 (CA)


T called police for help after being attacked by G, who also lived in the house. G was inebriated.

When police arrived, G pointed a knife towards the police and said “Don’t you bloody move. You come a step closer and you will get this straight through your guts” and “get off this property before you get this in your guts.” The police withdrew to get assistance

At trial, G was convicted of assault. The Supreme Court quashed the conviction because the threat was conditional and therefore not assault. The plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeal.


A show of force, accompanied by an unlawful or unjustifiable demand and present ability to carrying out threat, compliance with which will avert the threatened battery, is an assault.


The Appeal court noted that: There was a threat of violence exhibiting an intention to assault, and a present ability to carry out the threat.
**Threat needs to be accompanied by demonstrable intention


Decision in favour of Police.


  1. reasonable p 7


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