Presentation on theme: "The legal consequences of a house party Bristol university Law clinic."— Presentation transcript:
The legal consequences of a house party Bristol university Law clinic
Drugs, Alcohol and Theft The consequences of a house party
What are the issues? Is it illegal to drink while underage or merely sell/distribute/serve alcohol? Should the shopkeeper be criminally responsible for selling alcohol to Sergio? What if Sergio presented a fake ID and looked over 18? Is it illegal to take drugs, or merely sell or distribute them? Is cannabis any more harmful than cigarettes or alcohol? Should the drug be outlawed? – If so, is the law being consistent by banning cannabis while allowing cigarettes and alcohol? What do you think?
Drugs Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 it is an offence to: Possess a controlled substance unlawfully Possess a controlled substance with intent to supply Supply or offer to supply a controlled drug (even if it is free) Allow a house, flat or office to be used by people taking drugs If you are found in possession of Cannabis (class B drug) - you could face up to 5 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both If you are found to be dealing Cannabis – you can face up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine
Alcohol If you are under 18 – it is against the law: For someone to sell you alcohol (Janet is criminally responsible) To buy or try to buy alcohol (Sergio) For an adult to buy or try to buy alcohol for you To drink alcohol in licensed premises (e.g. a pub or restaurant) Fake ID? – it is an offence to use fake ID
Theft Has Charlie stolen from his sister, even though he planned to return the money? Theft Act 1968 S.1 A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly. S.2 It is immaterial whether the appropriation is made with a view to gain, or is made for the thief’s own benefit.
The Drunken Assault Charlie is angry that Sergio refuses him cannabis They are rather drunk and confrontational Sergio pushes Charlie and Charlie punches him in the face Sergio trips on loose floorboard and stumbles unconscious to the floor
Battery and bodily harm If Sergio suffers superficial cuts or minor injuries, he would responsible for battery Maximum jail sentence 6 months If injuries more serious, Charlie could be charged for assault causing bodily harm Maximum jail penalty of 5 years
Charlie may try to rely on self defence to justify punching Can be used if from Sergio’s perspective he feared being attacked But defence not available here because of Charlie voluntarily intoxicated himself Self Defence
Don’t get Drunk-Period
The Observer Annie is a qualified first aider She knows unconscious people should be sent to hospital But she does nothing because she does not like Sergio
Omission to Act Law does not criminalize omission to act Law does not want to enforce morality But a person must act if he created the dangerous situation, like in R v Miller Annie would have been guilty if she incited the fight or cheered them on
Just sit back
The Loose Floorboard Sergio may want to sue Janet’s parents for not taking care to fix their floorboard Janet’s parents had forbidden her to invite guests into the house due to the floorboard
Occupier’s liability Occupier owes duty of care to take care of visitors on his premises A house can have many occupiers if they exert legal control over it. Janet and her parents are jointly and severally liable Visitor is someone who owner has allowed expressly or impliedly to enter his house Breached reasonable standard expected of owner in maintaining his house
In a recent case against Plymouth City Council, court ruled that claimant was contributory negligent Owner cannot guard against unreasonable behaviour of drunken person crossing field at night However, owners owe duty to trespassers if owner appreciates substantial risk or danger Intoxication and Gate- crashing
Key Lessons For Parents Ground your teenage daughters Or just repair the damn floorboard already!
SEX In 2010 there were 6,674 teen pregnancies in the UK. One of the highest rates in Europe! Study by the World Health Organisation in 2008 found that more children are having sex in Britain that in any other country in Europe! 20 teenage girls fall pregnant everyday. Four out of ten girl in England have underage sex. 34% of teenage boys in Britain have underage sex. And more than 15% of these teenagers fail to use contraception.
SEX Age of Consent in England and Wales = 16 This is the same for boys and girls, and for heterosexual and homosexual sex. Is underage sex a criminal offence?
Underage sex will be viewed as a sexual assault: A boy over 16 who has sex with a girl who he knows to be under 16 will be breaking the law, even if she agrees to sex. A girl over 16 who has sex with a boy under 16 may also be prosecuted for sexual assault. Where someone under 18 has sex with someone under 16, there is a maximum sentence of 5 YEARS IMPRISONMENT. Any form of sexual activity between someone over 16 and someone under 16 is a criminal offence, even if they consent.
What if both people are under 16? Even if they are consenting, if both parties know that the other is under 16 then they will both technically be guilty of an offence.
Having sex with someone who is under 13 raises even more possibilities for prosecution: Specific offences protecting children under 13. Children under 13 cannot legally given their consent to any form of sexual activity. Maximum sentence: life imprisonment. No defence of mistaken belief about age
Consent means that both people in a sexual encounter must agree to it, and either person may decide at any time that they no longer consent and want to stop the activity. A person consents if he or she agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. WHAT IS CONSENT?
Consenting to one sort of sexual activity does not obligate you to consent to any other sexual activity. Consenting on one occasion also does not obligate you to consent on any other occasion. Consenting means only that at this particular time, you would like to engage in this particular sexual behaviour
Can someone under 16 consent to sex? Whilst someone under 16 might agree to sex and say that they want to have sex, this does not meant that they consent to sex in the eyes of the law. Sex with any girl or boy under 16 is illegal, even if they give permission.
CONSENT TO SEX WHILST DRUNK To give consent to sex, a person must have capacity to give consent. This relates to their awareness, knowledge and understanding of the situation which they are consenting to.
Capacity and Intoxication If a person is drunk and temporarily loses her capacity to choose whether to have sex, she is not consenting – and this may amount to rape. If a person is drunk but still remains capable of choosing whether to have sex, despite being drunk, then they can give consent – and this will not be rape.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases If you knowingly infect someone with an STI, you may be liable for an assault causing actual or grievous bodily harm. Les Pringle, convicted October 2012
Eventually the party becomes so noisy that the police are called. The police arrive and attempt to close down the party. Charlie, who is, by now, very drunk, swears loudly at the policemen. The policemen invite him outside and then arrest him for being found drunk in a public place. Charlie’s friend, Andrew goes out to see what is going on. He argues with the police. The police decide to search Andrew. They discover a pocket knife on him and arrest him for possession of a weapon. Andrew is taken to the police station and questioned.
Swearing at a police officer Is it illegal to swear in public? Section 5 Public Order Act 1986 makes it illegal to “Use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour… within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”
Being found drunk in a public place Is this an offence? -Section 12 Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 makes alcohol consumption in designated public places an offence -Section 91 Criminal Justice Act 1967 being drunk and disorderly in a public place Does it matter that the police took him outside? Winzar v Chief Constable of Kent
Stop and Search Police and Criminal Evidence Act Part 1 “reasonable suspicion” Terrorism Act 2000 Over 100,000 stop and searches, no arrests for terrorism offences made Black people are over seven times more likely to be stopped and searched. Why is this?
Knife offences Section 1 Prevention of Crime Act 1953 makes it an offence to carry offensive weapons in public places without lawful authority or reasonable excuse. Andrew must prove there was a reasonable excuse for him having the pocket knife e.g. religious reasons, use at work, part of a national costume Section 139 (3) Criminal Justice Act 1988 says this only applies to pocket knives if the blade exceeds 3 inches – this may depend on whether the knife has a locking blade
Questioning at a police station The caution: "You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence." You have a right to legal advice (Part 5 section 58 PACE) When would you remain silent?
Passage: The next morning, Janet is worried she may have picked up an STD, and also wants to do a pregnancy test. She goes to her local clinic and arranges an appointment with Dr. Ryan. The pregnancy test comes back negative. However, Janet tests positive for chlamydia. Dr. Ryan recommends treatment, but Janet is very distressed refuses treatment because she is afraid her parents might find the medication and discover her condition. However, she asks for contraceptive pills so that she can remain sexually active without the risk of getting pregnant. Her irrational activity leads Dr. Ryan to become concerned about her psychological well-being, and he wants to contact her parents. He is also concerned that she intends to engage in further sexual activity without treating her chlamydia first.
Can Dr. Ryan contact Janet’s parents, even if this means disclosing entrusted information - such as Janet’s sexual activity and her medical condition? Can Dr. Ryan provide Janet with contraceptive pills without her parent’s knowledge? Can Dr. Ryan force Janet to undergo treatment for her chlamydia? Can Dr. Ryan warn Janet’s potential sexual partners about her condition? What if Janet was diagnosed not with a curable infection like chlamydia, but with an incurable and deadly disease such as HIV?
Can Dr. Ryan contact Janet’s parents, even if this means disclosing entrusted information - such as Janet’s sexual activity and her medical condition? Main issue here- doctor/patient confidentiality Doctors have a duty of confidentiality to both adults and children. This means they can’t tell anyone about your health, or pass on anything you have said. But, there are some exceptions to this. The problem is, in the laws eyes anyone under 18 is still considered a child and Janet is only 15. Dr. Ryan therefore has to assess her competency- if she is competent he cannot tell her parents anything about her condition, if she's incompetent he can. Doctors have special guidelines to test this. In Janet’s case, the fact that the doctor is worried about her psychological condition means she probably won’t be found competent, and he may well be able to tell her parents.
Can Dr. Ryan provide Janet with contraceptive pills without her parent’s knowledge? Since 2006 under-16s can receive contraceptive advice and treatment without parental knowledge or consent. It is a basic human right under Article 8 that you have a right to privacy. This also applies to abortion. Medical advice and treatment can be given on matters concerning contraception and sexually transmitted diseases without parental consent and knowledge, providing certain criteria is met- the same competency test as above. Essentially, a doctor could refuse to give you the pill, but its incredibly unlikely that they ever would!
Can Dr. Ryan force Janet to undergo treatment for her chlamydia? Again the same issue that Janet is a child still arises (so can she refuse treatment?) Dr. Ryan himself cannot force Janet to do anything at all. However, if Janet is ‘competent’ then Dr. Ryan might feel he has a duty to tell her parents. Whilst the law respects children’s autonomy it does not necessarily mean they give them the same right as competent adults to make foolish or irrational decisions. One thing the law does not usually allow is for children to refuse treatment So a doctor can’t force anyone to have treatment, but if Janet didn’t consent, and wasn’t held to be competent he may feel under a duty to tell her parents so that they could consent on her behalf.
Can Dr. Ryan warn Janet’s potential sexual partners about her condition? Doctors are not allowed to disclose information on patients unless there is a real risk of serious harm. In this case chlamydia is not fatal, therefore he Dr. Ryan would not be able to tell her sexual partners anything. However he would strongly advise Janet to tell any partners of her condition.
What if Janet was diagnosed not with a curable infection like chlamydia, but with an incurable and deadly disease such as HIV? This would mean Janet is putting others at substantial risk. Whatever age you are, it is illegal to have sex with people if you have HIV and you don’t tell them! It doesn’t matter whether you deliberately transmit it to somebody or if you just don’t tell them and hope for the best, it is a criminal offence and you would be charged with GBH. But what about Dr. Ryan? Can he tell anyone? The answer is probably not. But there is a chance that if he knew Janet was planning on having unprotected sex with someone and not telling them, he may be able to tell the person. However, first of all he would have to try and convince Janet herself to tell them and then get permission from several bodies that he was making the right decision in disclosing her disease. If doctors told everyone the minute someone was diagnosed with HIV then nobody would ever go to the doctors! Therefore in all cases, a doctor must try and convince Janet herself to tell any sexual partners that she has HIV before sleeping with them. However, if they feel that someone is in danger they may tell them of her condition.