(Original post by Hylean)
In DPP v Smith (Michael Ross), the defendant held down his former girlfriend a
nd cut off her ponytail with kitchen scissors a few weeks before her 21st birthday. The Magistrates acquitted him on the ground that, although there was undoubtedly an assault, it had not caused actual bodily harm, since there was no bruising or bleeding, and no evidence of any psychological or psychiatric harm. The victim’s distress did not amount to bodily harm. The Divisional Court allowed an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions, rejecting the argument for the defendant that the hair was dead tissue above the scalp and so no harm was done. Judge P said:
"In my judgment, whether it is alive beneath the surface of the skin or dead tissue above the surface of the skin, the hair is an attribute and part of the human body. It is intrinsic to each individual and to the identity of each individual. Although it is not essential to my decision, I note that an individual's hair is relevant to his or her autonomy. Some regard it as their crowning glory. Admirers may so regard it in the object of their affections. Even if, medically and scientifically speaking, the hair above the surface of the scalp is no more than dead tissue, it remains part of the body and is attached to it. While it is so attached, in my judgment it falls within the meaning of "bodily" in the phrase "actual bodily harm". It is concerned with the body of the individual victim."
It has been accepted that actual bodily harm includes any hurt or injury that interferes with the health or comfort of the victim, and which is more than transient or trifling. To damage an important physical aspect of a person’s bodily integrity must amount to actual bodily harm, even if the element damaged is dead skin or tissue. As Creswell J. commented in his short concurring judgment:
"To a woman her hair is a vitally important part of her body. Where a significant portion of a woman's hair is cut off without her consent, this is a serious matter amounting to actual (not trivial or insignificant) bodily harm.
As for the malicious intent, you'd have to prove that.
Whilst I'm not actually advocating the girl take the four year old to court, I am showing that the courts do recognise that hair is important to people, specifically women in this particular case, so Frequency has every right to feel violated or upset given what happened. People telling her to get over it because the girl was 4 are ignoring that. Sure, it's not the worst thing in the world, but then some people get freaked out by someone invading their personal space.