According to The Salem News, a twenty-five year old off duty firefighter was found not guilty of assault and battery following a jury-waived trial in Salem District Court. The charges stemmed from a Halloween party last fall that left a Danvers man in a pool of blood at the bottom of a set of stairs with injuries to his face and hip. According to the paper, the trial focused on exactly how the Danvers resident sustained the injuries. The Commonwealth presented witnesses alleging that the defendant punched the intoxicated guest and pushed him down twelve stairs in front of the party house. The defendant and other witnesses testified that the party-goer was inadvertently sent down the stairs by another guest. The District Court judge concluded that there was reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant committed the assault and found the firefighter not guilty.
In Massachusetts, in order to be found guilty of assault and battery the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant intentionally committed an unconsented to touching on another person or the intentional doing of a wanton or grossly negligent act causing personal injury to another. Assault and battery by means of reckless, wanton and willful conduct requires actual physical injury as necessary element of required proof. When a client is accused of assault and battery or any violent crime it is important to investigate and develop a defense early in the case. The option to consider in a case where there was contact between the parties is whether a defendant acted in self-defense or in defense of another. Once that type of defense is asserted at trial, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant did not act in self defense or in defense of another. Another possibility, as was the case here, is for the defendant to deny that he or she was the perpetrator.