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Regina v. Bradshaw
Leicester Spring Assizes
14 Cox Crim. Cas. 83 (1878)
Herbert Dockerty was a soccer (football) player for English team Ashby, while William Bradshaw (defendant) was a football player for Coalville. Dockerty and Bradshaw were playing a football game governed by an association’s specified rules. About 15 minutes into the game, Dockerty was “dribbling” the ball in the direction of a goal when he was met by Bradshaw running toward him at a bit of an angle to get the ball. Both players were running at considerable speed. Although there was some dispute over the facts, Dockerty may have kicked the ball beyond Bradshaw, and Bradshaw jumped in the air and kneed Dockerty in the stomach, “charging” Dockerty. Dockerty was severely injured on contact, and he died the next day. The government (plaintiff) criminally prosecuted Bradshaw, and the court held a jury trial. The witnesses agreed on major events but disagreed on certain particulars. Some evidence supported that Bradshaw had no right to charge at Dockerty because Dockerty had already kicked the ball past Bradshaw. Other evidence supported that Bradshaw was justified in charging because his charge and Dockerty’s kick were simultaneous but that it was unfair of Bradshaw to charge with a protruding knee. One umpire opined that “nothing unfair had been done.” The jury was instructed on the charged crime.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bramwell, J.)
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