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Criminal Law A2 Mrs Howe. Objectives Understand what makes an offence Criminal The role of criminal law in society How criminal law works Part 2 Explain.

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Presentation on theme: "Criminal Law A2 Mrs Howe. Objectives Understand what makes an offence Criminal The role of criminal law in society How criminal law works Part 2 Explain."— Presentation transcript:

1 Criminal Law A2 Mrs Howe

2 Objectives Understand what makes an offence Criminal The role of criminal law in society How criminal law works Part 2 Explain the elements to be taken into account when deciding if the D had the required Actus Reus

3 What is a Crime Difficult to define a crime. Best way is Conduct Forbidden by the state For which there is a punishment Supported by Lord Atkin in Proprietary Articles Trade Association v Attorney-General for Canada(1931) “Criminal quality of an act cannot be discerned by intuition nor can it be discovered by reference to any standard but one: is the act prohibited with penal consequences”

4 What is Crime Criminal law and offences are very difficult to define. Offences against a person or property for which there is a consequence (punishment)

5 What is Considered a Crime What is considered a crime will change over time. This can be caused by:- Society views- Sexual Offences Act 1967 Technological advances- Road Traffic Offences, Internet Fraud, Pornography

6 The Role of The State Criminal law is set down by state (parliament/House of Lords) Can be set by: European court but has to be incorporated into English Law Judges through case law- Shaw V DPP (1962) Breach of Criminal law leads to penalty Imposed on defendant on behalf of the state. Prosecution of Criminal cases is usually carried out by state, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) But can be started by individuals (rare) or organisations e.g. RSPCA Always controlled by the state- Attorney General

7 Elements of a Crime There are many different offences however all must have two elements:- Actus reus- an act, omission or state of affairs Mens rea – guilty mind Actus Reus Physical element + Mens Rea Mental element = Offence “ Actus non facit reuem nisi mens sit rea” which means the act itself does not constitute guilt unless done with a guilty mind. Both an act (or omission) and a guilty mind must be proved for criminal offences

8 Defences Insanity automatism mistake self defence duress necessity and intoxication Although the defendant may have done the required act there are a number of general defences (Common law) that may be available which will lead to a “not guilty” verdict Defence to any offence Not a defence to murder Only where because of intoxication D did not have required specific intention for offence

9 Defences Defendant only needs to raise some evidence of the key points of the defence Woolmington V DPP (1935) Exception- insanity This can be from the evidence presented by the defence or prosecution

10 Standard and Burden of Proof Defendant presumed innocent until proven guilty Burden on prosecution to prove the case against the Defendant Standard- is beyond reasonable doubt Because defendant liberty could be at stake. If a defence is raised burden on Prosecution to disprove defence Reverse onus- for certain defences (insanity, diminished responsibility) burden of proof is on the Defendant – Standard is on balance or probabilities

11 Exception- Strict Liability-prosecution only need to prove actus rea Causation-

12 Punishments Caution Fine Community service Imprisonment Tagging Probation Licence Suspended sentence

13 Criminal Law and Human Rights UK and 50 other Countries signed European Convention on Human Rights It sets out Basic Human Rights people are entitled to expect Although UK signed in 1950 it was not incorporated into English Law until 2000

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15 Criminal Court System House of Lords Court of Appeal Crown Court Magistrates Court One Magistrate Three Magistrates Judge and Jury of piers 3 Judges

16 Case Law Shaw V DPP (1962) The defendant published a Ladies Directory which advertised the names and addresses of prostitutes with their photos and details of the services they were prepared to offer. He was charged with conspiracy to corrupt public morals. The House of Lords Accepted that there was an offence of conspiracy to corrupt public morals, as there did not appear to be any other offence which covered the situation

17 Case Law Woolmington V DPP (1935) D’s wife had left him and gone to live with her mother. D went to the Mother’s house and shot his wife dead. He claimed that he had decided to ask his wife to come back to him and if she refused, that he would commit suicide. For this reason he was carrying under his coat a loaded sawn of shot gun. When his wife indicated that she would not return to him he threatened to shoot himself and brought the gun out to show her he meant it. A she brought it out it some how went off, killing his wife. He claimed that this was a pure accident. The judge at the trial told the jury that the prosecution had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant killed his wife. He then went onto tell them that if the prosecution satisfied them of that then the D had to show that there were circumstances which made that killing pure accident. This put the burden of proof on to the D. In the House of Lords this held not to be correct

18 Task Create a poster to explain the elements of a crime to 16 year olds. Quality criteria A4 size Colourful Easy to read

19 Task Create a poster to explain the criminal court structure. Quality criteria A4 size Colourful Easy to read Includes all courts Explain how courts are preceded over

20 Summary Crime is Conduct Forbidden by the state For which there is a punishment Crime must have two parts Actus Reus (physical act) and Mens Rea( guilty mind) Case brought by or on behalf of state, CPS But can be by individual (rare) or organisation (RSPCA) Burden of proof on Prosecution, standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt. Defences- Insanity, automatism, mistake, self defence (all crimes) Duress, necessity (not murder) and intoxication but only where D could not have intent because of intoxification Human rights-

21 Task A Criminal Offence is very difficult to define. There are lots and lots of opinions on what makes an offence criminal and the role of criminal law in society. Working in groups of 4 you have 15mins to read all the information given to you and make notes on the key points to explain what makes an action criminal and the role of criminal law today.

22 Next One group of four sit on the inside of the circle The next group sit opposite a member of this group. The group on the outside have 3 mins to explain what they have learnt about what makes a offence criminal. Once the time is up you will move round and tell the next person what you have learnt Once you have visited everyone in the group, the group swap over and the other group do the same thing.

23 Task Create a mind map to record all the factors which are taken into account when deciding if an offence is criminal.

24 Task Working in your groups you have 30 mins to create a poster to explain to your peers what makes an offence Criminal and how the Criminal Law operates. At the end of the time the group must explain their poster to the rest of the class.

25 Bibliography Martin.J, Criminal Law for A2, Hodder Arnold, London, 2006


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