Weaver v. Ward (Kings Bench, 1616)
Relevant Facts— Ward and Weaver were soldiers practicing military maneuvers when Ward’s musket discharged and injured Weaver. Accepted that Ward did not intentionally fire the weapon.
Issue— Is a soldier liable for the damage to another during military skirmishes through no intent of harm?
Holding— A man will never be excused for trespass unless it is judged entirely without his fault.
Reasoning— Criminal responsibility is determined by the intent of the perpetrator, but even a lunatic can be held liable for the punitive damages of his actions even if he has no intent to harm others or their property. Only in the case of a man running into the path of a firing musket etc is the defendant without negligence.
Judgment/Disposition— judgment for the plaintiff