Appeals Court (August 21, 2008)
A human victim is a material element of the offense of Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon.
After a drug sale and subsequent police chase that ended when the defendant's car hit a police cruiser, the defendant was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, to wit: a motor vehicle. The complaint listed the victim of the crime as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the battery alleged to be the colliding of the two cars. The defendant plead guilty to the crime and subsequently appealed arguing that in order to be convicted of the crime of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, the victim must be a human victim.
The Court agreed, ruling that G.L. c. 265 sets forth Crimes Against the Person, one of which is Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon. The Court held that, while assault and battery may be proved by one of two theories, both theories require proof of a human being as the victim.