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Presentation on theme: "Copyright … Strodes College Laws students are free to make use of this Pdf Print files for study purposes (they should print them off and take them to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright … Strodes College Laws students are free to make use of this Pdf Print files for study purposes (they should print them off and take them to class). Others should ask before copying or using these Pdf Print Files. Copyright of Dr Peter Jepson -

2 Introduction to A2 Criminal Law Text Book … Criminal Law by Diana Roe (3rd edition - 2005) Presentation notes by Dr Peter Jepson 1 PRECIS NOTES WILL BE CHECKED At the start of the Lecture

3 Silence in this Lecture Take Notes Turn off all mobiles Please raise your hand if you have a question No eating of food or sweets in this classroom 2

4 Nature and definition of a crime Civil actions involve one person taking another to court. In Criminal law nearly all proceedings involve the State taking an individual to court for violating the rules or law of society 3

5 This is because … Broken the rules of the state Serious matters that cannot be left to individuals Compensation would be inadequate and some people could not afford the legal costs – so crimes would go unpunished 4

6 and because … There could be a need to send D to prison to deter others Unfair for V to bear the cost of a prosecution Can you think of other reasons? 5

7 Crime is a wrong against the state Either by commission or omission Name some examples of crimes Are laws influenced by morals? 6

8 Statute and/or Common Law Criminal law is an uneasy mixture of common law rules and statute law. For example the Treason Act of 1361 is still law. The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 is used many times daily in our courts. Some of the case law dates back centuries. 7

9 Statute and/or Common Law Theft Act 1968 is governed by Statute. In the case of Knuller v DPP 1973 the judges decided that it is now not their province to make new law – so this is now done by Parliament (between 30 and 80 new laws each year) 8

10 Statute and/or Common law Murder is a common law offence – but the Homicide Act 1957 provides for some statutorily determined defences and the Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996 extended the Actus reus (How?) In A2 we will be looking at Murder, Offences Against the Person and property offences such as Theft. 9

11 Criminal Code call Discovering much of Criminal Law can be a difficult process. The solution is to have a draft code – in which all criminal law is listed (done in France). 10

12 Criminal Code call First done for the UK in 1879 – but never passed by Parliament Again in 1989 – but no implementation. Now appears some provisions may be being gradually enacted. 11

13 Who Prosecutes? The State – via the CPS Prosecutions are initiated by the Police (prior to the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 the police prosecuted) 12

14 Who Prosecutes? Trading Standards Officers also prosecute. So do the Serious Fraud Office. There can also be Private Prosecutions (Steven Lawrence case is one such example). However, these can be taken over by the Attorney General and dropped. 13

15 Who Prosecutes? With regards to serious offences under the Official Secrets Act, the Attorney General must give permission for a prosecution. This also applies to prosecutions for incitement to racial hatred under Part III of the Public Order Act 1986. 14

16 Classification of Offences - Summary Two broad categories – summary and indictable. However, the James Committee recommended three types of offences: summary, indictable and triable-either-way. 15

17 Classification of Offences - Summary Summary Offences must be tried in the Magistrates Court because an Act of Parliament decrees they must be dealt with summarily 16

18 Classification of Offences - Summary Summary cases involve three Magistrates, or a District Judge sitting alone, with a maximum six month sentence and/or £5000 fine (this could be changed to 12 months due to powers under the Criminal Justice Act 2003). 17

19 Classification of Offences - Summary Examples of Summary Offences include – Traffic Offences such as speeding, illegal parking, drink driving, assaulting a PC in the execution of his duty, minor criminal damage, assault or battery 18

20 Classification of Offences - Indictable Serious offences tried on indictment in the Crown Court. Start in Magistrates, but referred for a Jury Trial or sentencing (if pleading guilty) Examples of Murder, Manslaughter, Rape, arson, blackmail 19

21 Classification of Offences - Indictable Magistrates still decide whether accused is remanded in custody or given bail Under the Bail Act 1976 everyone as a right to bail unless the offence is a serious violent one, in which case Ms must explain in open court why they are giving bail. 20

22 Classification of Offences - Indictable In other cases, bail will be allowed unless there is a good reason why it should be refused, such as the likelihood of D committing further offences or absconding. 21

23 Triable either way Under the Magistrates Court Act 1980 it is for the courts to decide that a case is more suited for trial by indictment. If Ms decide they do have enough power, D can still opt for trial by Jury 22

24 Triable either way Vast majority choose summary trial – but in dangerous driving and theft (for example) some Ds may believe (often wrongly) that a jury trial will give a better chance of acquittal If D chooses Magistrates Trial he must be warned that Ms have power to send him to the Crown Court for sentencing 23

25 Examples of Triable either way include … Theft, dangerous driving, burglary, ABH, Criminal Damage over £5000, Indecent Assault, Obtaining Property by Deception. 24

26 Examples of Triable either way … Labour Govt tried recently to curtail jury trial in such cases – twice defeated in the Lords. Since had a change of heart. 25

27 System of Criminal Courts Most crimes have a maximum sentence fixed by law – with discretion to the judge. Treason, Piracy and Murder have a fixed Life Sentence. 26

28 System of Criminal Courts However, the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 lays down an automatic life sentence, save in exceptional circumstances, where D is found guilty of a second serious violent offence. 27

29 System of Criminal Courts Professor Smith called this Act an absurd piece of legislation. Lord Bingham, a former Lord Chief Justice, has called for it to be left to the judges to set a minimum life- sentence term a convicted person should serve. 28

30 System of Criminal Courts He claimed that Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, endorsed his view along with the vast majority of QB Judges. 29

31 System of Criminal Courts Lord Binghams proposals involved the Judge specifying in open court the minimum sentence. This would allow either D or the CPS to appeal After the minimum sentence has been served the Parole Board - rather than the Home Secretary - would determine release 30

32 System of Criminal Courts Read and Précis the discussion on life sentencing … sentence.htm PRINT OFF and bring to class 31

33 Possible reform of the criminal courts The Auld Report – published in October 2002 – suggested major changes to the court of first instance, recommending the insertion of a middle tier of courts where a tribunal will make the decision 32

34 Criminal Appeal Process from Magistrates Two main types of appeal To the Crown Court against the verdict (not if D pleads guilty) or sentence The case is re-heard by a Circuit Judge and two Ms. Only D can appeal by this route and sentence can be increased 33

35 Criminal Appeal Process from Magistrates On a point of Law (e.g. Elliott v C [a minor] 1983), or claims that Ms have acted ultra vires. Held by way of case stated to the Queens Bench Division Case is then considered by two or three judges who will give their view of the law 34

36 Appeals from the Crown Court To the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) Rules governed by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 Against sentence – Leave of Appeal of the trial judge needed and only granted in 1 out of 4 cases 35

37 Appeals from the Crown Court Criminal Justice Act 1988 allows the Attorney General to appeal against an unduly lenient sentence. This is rarely successful, but between 1989 and 1997 there were 367 applications 36

38 Appeals from the Crown Court Only D can appeal Against the verdict, except in exceptional circumstances where the Prosecution can show that the jury has been nobbled. 37

39 Appeals from the Crown Court D can appeal on a point of law or because there are reasons to suggest that the verdict is unsafe. Leave is required for this Most appeals are on the grounds that the judge mis-directed the Jury (e.g. Woollin) Woollin 38

40 Appeals contd Court of Appeal may allow the appeal, dismiss it, or order a re-trial Either D or the Prosecution can appeal to the H of L if a point of law has been certified as being one of general public importance (there are rarely more than 10 per year) Example of WoollinWoollin 39

41 Binding precedent in Criminal Law The hierarchal principles of binding precedent – as learnt in AS – still apply However, following the case of Taylor [1950] it is accepted that the Criminal Division has more freedom when it comes to being bound by past decisions. This is because it affects the liberty of a person 40

42 Binding precedent in Criminal Law Doctrine of binding precedent is certainly very important when it comes to interpreting statute and issues of law, as we shall find out later (in A2). It is CENTRAL to the special study paper. 41

43 Reforming Criminal Law The A2 Law exam requires students to answer questions related to reforming the law … Undertake the précis exercise … Reforming Criminal Law (this includes some Self-assessment Questions) Reforming Criminal Law (this includes some Self-assessment Questions) 42

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