“Keep slicing, until you reach the vital organs”



Lawyers! You’ve already done the booklearning, so please go to the comments and answer this question from Stuart from the Isle of Wight:

My girlfriend recently broke her little toe by stubbing it on the sofa (ouch!), and tried to convince me I should cut her toe off as it would be less painful.

I felt a bit uneasy about this and the possible legal situation it could put me in, so declined her offer.

But, answer me this: if I had gone ahead with said request, would I have been doing anything illegal? Even thought it would have been an act between two consenting adults?

And if it was legal, at what point would the law intervene? The ankle? Knee? Thigh?

By the way I think I should clarify this is only a theoretical question. Her little toe has healed nicely now, and anyway I’m not a psychopath!

Thank goodness for that. I thought you’d lost your mind – what would be the point of amputating her toe, anyway, without a good Big Lebowski-type scheme in mind for the detached digit?


4 Responses to ““Keep slicing, until you reach the vital organs””

  1. Madeline. Says:

    Yep, R v Brown said it was impossible to consent to serious harm under certain situations (things like medical procedures being exempt for obvious reasons), though I do recall another case where a married couple were allowed to brand each other without prosecution 0_o

  2. Tim Says:

    Yeah Finlay is right. The controversial case in question is R v Brown [1994] which decided that consent is not a defense to ABH or anything more serious. So no toe amputation allowed (in general).

  3. Finlay Says:

    In the UK you’re not allowed to consent to BDSM-like activities in which one participant hurts the other, so even though it’s “between two consenting adults”, the law wouldn’t be on your side. I’m not too clued up on the details, not being a lawyer or interested in said activities, but as far as I’m aware it’s one of those situations where it could only be prosecuted if it became known to the authorities, and you’d be hard-pressed to hide a severed toe. Naturally, there are people who want the law changed; I think it’s a fairly recent law, too, as it came up in court a few years ago or something.

  4. Chris from Cardiff (Australia) Says:

    I’m not sure what the law is in the UK, but in Australia at least there’s a ‘scale’ of assaults and who presses charges. Given that the wound was a serious one, I think it would be at the police’s discretion whether or not charges for GBH or ABH were laid.

    Given that it’s an indictable offence I don’t think consent is enough of a defence to get you out of a prison sentence. You’d probably have to prove medical necessity, etc. or maybe get your girlfriend to refuse to testify in court.

    *Having said that* I’ve only been studying criminal law for about 3 weeks now, and we’ve only covered cows, bestiality, and common assault, so I may well be wrong…

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