BANKSTOWN COLLEGE OF TAFE HSC LEGAL STUDIES Teacher: Naz Osta E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org HSC LEGAL STUDIES Course Content Duration • Introduction to Legal Studies • 2 weeks • Law and Justice • 4 weeks • Human Rights • 4 weeks • Crime • 10 weeks • Family Law • 5 weeks • World Order • 5 weeks TOTAL: 30 Weeks HSC ASSESSMENT CALANDER Components Task 1 Task 2 Task 3 Task 4 Task 5 and Weightings 23 feb 14 april 23 june 11 august TBA PC Exam Introduction to Legal Studies Exam Law and 10 % Society Assignment Crime 25 % Research Family Essay Law 25% Trial HSC All 40% Topics TOTAL 100% Introduction to Law What is Law? Rules that apply to everyone that can be enforced. Where does our law com from? Parliament, courts, the constitution and delegated legislation Why do we need law? Is law necessary? 1. Laws regulate society by telling us what we can do and when. 2. Laws enforce values society deems important. 3. Laws protect members of the community from harm. 4. The law provides a venue for resolution in times of conflict between individuals. 5. Laws enforce rights and gains compensation. What are the characteristics of law? 1. Laws can be enforced. 2. laws are accepted by the community. 3. Laws are binding on the community. 4. Laws are discoverable. ( no hidden laws, you can go out and find out about them). 5. Laws are in the public interest. 6. Laws reflect morality. SOURCES OF LAW 1/ COMMON LAW: judge made law based on Doctrine of Precedent. The system of Law used in Britain and its colonies. PRECEDENT: A binding decision made on a present case based on a previous court case with similar facts. • Judges are bound by the ratio decidendi which is the reason for a judgement • Judges are not bound by the obiter dictum which is a subjective comment, more personal input. 2/ STATUTE LAW: also known as Legislation, or Acts of Parliament. Statute Law is made by Parliament. Eg. Native Title act (1993) 3/ DELEGATED LEGISLATION: laws made by subordinate authorities (eg: Australian Post- cost of Postage). • Advantages~ more effective, quicker, saves time by allowing persons of bodies with relevant expertise to make decisions about mundane matters etc. 4/ CONSTITUTION: describes how the country should be run and outlines how Power is divided and the rights it gives its citizens. • To bring together the 6 colonies in a federation (power sharing): Created a new level of govt, the Commonwealth and set out rules for the relation between this new level (federal) and the states (former colonies). 5/ INTERNATIONAL LAW: governs the interactions between nations. If a nation breaches international law, it can be dealt with by the international community through: Trade Embargoes, Denial of Diplomatic Recognition, Trade Sanctions and Military Action. • THE UNITED NATIONS: acts as a global security and development organisations. The UN maintains global peace and security. [The General Assembly, Security Council, the Economic & Social Council, the Secretariat and the Trusteeship Council]. THE CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM IN AUSTRALIA DIVISION OF POWER: Powers are divided between the States and the Federal Government. 1/ Residual Powers: are the powers that the states retained after federation, eg police, local councils 2/ Concurrent Powers: areas over which both the states and the Commonwealth have legislative power, eg education and health 3/ Exclusive Powers: federal parliament has exclusive power over immigration and defence. SECTION 109- THAT WHERE A CONFLICT ARISES, COMMONWEALTH LAW PREVAILS OVER THE STATE LAW SEPARATION OF POWERS: Power is distributed between the 3 arms of government; that is between the legislature, executive and the judiciary. • Executive- government responsible for putting the laws passed by the legislature into effect. • Legislature- is parliament which makes statute law • Judicial- courts which solve disputes and interpret statute law The Court System High Court Supreme Court District Court Local Court Topic 3: CRIMINAL LAW • 3.1 Types of Crimes 1. Crimes Against Persons Homicide ~ Murder ~ Manslaughter ~ Infanticide ~ Death by Reckless Driving Assault Sexual Assault • 2. Against Property • Larceny • Breaking and Entering • Robbery • 3. White Collar Crime • Tax Evasion • Computer Crime • Insider Trading 4. Crimes Against the State • Sedition • Treason 5. Public Order Offences Offences that disrupt the activity of society 6. Traffic Offences Death By Reckless Driving Other offences like speeding, parking etc 7. Preliminary Offences Attempt of crime e.g. attempted murder Conspiracy 8. Regulatory Offences Breaking of a regulation 9. Victimless Crimes Only harms perpetrator. eg. prostitution • SOURCES OF CRIMINAL LAW • Most criminal law is made by the state. Under the constitution the Federal Parliament does not have specific power to make criminal law. They do however in relation to criminal laws that come under their exclusive jurisdiction from section 51. For example importation of drugs from overseas comes from the Customs Act 1901 (Cth). The main sources of criminal law come from: • Statute law • made by NSW Parliament (with most under the Crimes Act) if no conflict with Commonwealth law • Common Law • judges using their discretion, making decisions which bind because of the laws of precedence • codification: combining all law (both common and statute) into one act. Result: code law • Constitutional separation of powers • Federal Parliament doesn‟t have the Constitutional power to make general criminal laws, but it does make some laws eg Customs Act over drug importation • Some states of Australia (Qld, Tasmania, W.A) have combined all their criminal law (statute / common law) into one Act of parliament. This process is called codification or code law. Parties to a Crime A principal is directly involved in the commission of the crime • First Degree (the person that carries out the act) • Second Degree (assists in the commission of offences) An accessory to the crime is a person who knows about the criminal act and provides some form of assistance • Before the Fact (knows the crime is about to be committed) • After the Fact (knows the crime has been committed and provides assistance to the criminal) ELEMENTS OF CRIME Mens Rea (guilty Mind) • 3 types of mens rea. 1. Intention: Person deliberately intended to commit a crime 2. Recklessness: Person was aware of the danger of their action and acted anyway. 3. Negligence: When a person fails to see the rest of their action, a risk that an ordinary person would have seen under the same circumstances. Actus Reus (Guilty Act) • This is the performance of a guilty act or an omission that breaks the law. • the performance (act/duty) that breaks criminal law must: • take place • be done by the accused • be voluntary In Jiminez v R, the high court held that falling asleep at a wheel is involuntary conduct. Other examples include; being deprived of free choice and a reflex action. • in strict liability cases no mens rea needs to be proven. Causation The act that was performed must be the cause of the crime. The act must be ultimately responsible for the offence. Novus Actus Intervenes. Intervening Act: In R v Hallet (Act of god), the victim drowned after the accused assaulted him and left on the beach, whereby an incoming wave drowned him. The accused argued that the victim died via the drowning (Novus Actus) and not the assault. This was rejected by SA Supreme court arguing that the conduct of the accused was a substantial and operating cause of death and that action of the sea would not have broken the chain of causation as it was a natural cause as distinct from an act of god (tidal wave). In Royall (Self- preservation), D was charged with the murder of a woman who fell from the bathroom window of her 6th story flat as she feared her attacker. The high court (Mason CJ) held that her conduct was not a Novus because the accused had induced her into a well-founded apprehension of physical harm such as to make it a natural consequence (reasonable) that the victim would seek to escape. Therefore not only must V‟s apphrehsion of harm be well-founded, but V‟s actions in trying to escape must also have been reasonably foreseeable. In R v Pagett (Preservation of another) D used his girlfriend as a shield to protect himself form police gunfire. D fired at police, who fired back in self- defence and killed the girl. D argued that a 3rd party (police) had been the operating and substantial cause of death. It was found that the police actions were involuntary and could not break the chain of causation because it was an act of self- defence and done in execution of legal duty and it was reasonably foreseeable. In this case, if the police officer were a specialist target shooter who missed, resulting in death, then it would be a Novus Actus because this is not reasonably foreseeable. In R v Blaue (Subsequent medical treatment), the victim was stabbed but refused a life-saving blood transfusion on religious grounds and subsequently died. The English Court of Criminal Appeal held that the eggshell skull principle means the whole person (mental and physical) and therefore the accused could not argue that the chain of causation is broken because the victim‟s religious beliefs were unreasonable. CRIMINAL DEFENCES • Complete Defences: The defendant completely walks free Duress • Where the defendant claims that the criminal act committed was due to threats or injury to themselves by others. The threat can be to the defendant or to another person. Necessity • The defendant claims that the crime committed was done to stop a more serious crime from occurring, or to stop a more serious danger. R v Dudley and Stephens, stated that necessity was no defence to murder. Mental illness (Insanity) • The onus of proof for insanity lies with the defence. A person does not have the necessary mens rea (intention). • McNaughten Case, a person is mentally insane when they cant differentiate between right or wrong DEFENCES Automatism • A defence used where a person was unable to control their actions causing a criminal action to occur. A person who has no control their bodily actions. Accident and Error A reasonable person in the same situation would have made the same mistake. Eg.under age sex. Self-defence • „Reasonable force‟ can be used in the defence of oneself to protect property or to stop a serious crime from occurring. The onus of proof lies with the prosecution who must disprove Self – defence beyond reasonable doubt. The main issue with self-defence lies in determining what is reasonable force. The accused does not have to wait until the initial assault has commenced. In some circumstances they may act pre-emptively where the attack is believed to be imminent. (Conlon) DEFENCES Consent • The defendant claims that they acted with the victims consent. The defence can either be complete, absolute or partial. It is often used in sexual offences. • • Case 1: R v BROWN (assault occasioning actual bodily harm) • • Involved sado-masochistic homosexuals who consented to acts of violence towards each other. The House of Lords found that consent was no defence, public morality and their disapproval of such conduct swayed them. (Lord Templeman) however Lord Mustill and Slynn (in dissent) were of the opinion that criminal law should not interfere with private personal morality. • • Case 2: R v WILSON, husband branding his initials on his wife‟s bum with her consent. English Court of Appeal, quashed conviction of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, because of no aggressive intent by husband and not in public interest to interfere in private martial affairs Defences Partial Defences: The defendant does not completely get off Provocation • A defence where the accused was provoked by the victims into committing a crime. The offender looses self control and acts out of rage. In NSW provocation is only used for murder to manslaughter. Diminished Responsibility • The defendant acted while mentally ill or disabled and so is not entirely responsible for his or her actions. The defendant is not mentally ill to the extent required in the defence of mental illness. • R V Desouza, a man on steroids failed in his attempt to use this defence due to „roid –rage‟. Defences Intoxication • A normally sane person is so affected by alcohol or other drugs that he or she did not know what he or she was doing. Self-induced intoxication will generally not be taken into account when determining criminal liability for murder or manslaughter but intoxication by accident or because of a prescribed drug may be considered by the court as a defence to other crimes. Homosexual Advance Defence • R v Thomas Green The Criminal Process and the Role of Discretion • -Lots of crimes but not all reported or investigated. Police use discretion (take action according to own judgement) to decide which cases to investigate – resource efficient. Judiciary, Judges, defence lawyers and Prosecutors also have discretion. • -most crimes are reported by citizens. • Investigation – discretion used. Police have investigation powers to: • Detain and question people who they suspect has committed a crime • Search property and seize evidence that can be used in court. • Within legal limits use telephone taps and video cameras. • Arrest – Crimes Act allows police to arrest person they reasonably suspect of committing a crime. People under arrest have certain rights: • Silence • Not to be searched – only with a warrant • To be released from custody if charge has not been made within reasonable time. • The right for confessions to be free and voluntary • The right for a minor to have an independent adult person present • The limited right to legal advice • Charge – If police are satisfied that suspect has committed crime, can be taken to police station and charged. Bail – The guarantee given by suspects that they will appear at court later date or forfeit money. Bail Act 1978 (NSW). -some cases, bail is granted automatically unless the person: Was drunk or injured Already has a conviction Is in danger of reprisal and needs protection Is a danger to public The offence is too serious Plea Guilty – sentencing hearing – character witnesses (to mitigate) -Non-guilty – accused held on remand (unless bail) – case is defended in court – verdict. -plea bargaining: accuse agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge. Hearing – Committal hearing – evidence is presented before a magistrate to determine prima facie. - If enough evidence – trial proceeds in appropriate court. IN COURT: Rules of Evidence – hearsay, character, opinion, leading/double Q‟s. Trial Procedure – prosecution must prove „beyond reasonable doubt‟. – Adversary system – 2 adversaries opposing each other. Exam – in – chief, Cross examination Role of juries. Jury Act 1977 (NSW). 12 jurers chosen from a larger group – those liable for discrimination removed etc, must come to unanimous decision (if not “hung jury” – process begins again), decide guilt. Appeals – heard in court above. Only can be based on a point of law - not discontent with outcome e.g. wrongful procedure, misdirection of jury. Creating Social Order • -Aim of the Legal system to create order in society. • -informal things like family, school, work, religion and media also help create social order. • -When these things fail criminal law provides the „inducement‟ to comply. There are other formal ways to create social order before imprisonment: • Education – people must be educated about law. Civics has been introduced as a compulsory subject in junior levels of school. HSC Legal Studies also provides education. Govt dept‟s issue pamphlets etc to educate the nation on the law. • Regulation – some laws exist to ensure people and environmental safety e.g. health regulations, OH&S. • Coersion – sanctions coerce people into obeying laws – fear of punishment. • • • The Sentencing Process • -accused can be found guilty by a magistrate or a jury. • The Hearing • After conviction the judge reconvenes court for the sentencing hearing: • Evidence – additional evidence such as reports from psychiatrists and psychologists, character reference, standing of the accused in the community, hearsay evidence may be used. • The role of the prosecutor – in trial, role is ensure conviction. Now it is to ensure judge has all relevant info like prior convictions. Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) allows for presentation of impact on victim report. • Role of the Defence – ensure accused receives most appropriate sentence. • The Victim – impact. • Factors Affecting the Decision: • Purposes of punishment – punishment must fit crime. • Circumstances of the Offence (Objective features) i.e. facts of the crime – were weapons used?; seriousness of the crime; etc; • Circumstances of the offender (Subjective features) e.g. is the offender a minor? Single parent? Convicted criminal or first offender? Disability? Drug user? Etc. • Aggravating and mitigating factors. • Judicial discretion and the limits of discretion – unless mandatory sentencing, discretion by judges can be used. Enforcing the Law through Punishment. Purposes of Punishment. 5 categories: Rehabilitation – reform offender. Deterrence – prevent or discourage criminal behaviour through punishment. Retribution – „an eye for an eye‟ Incapacitation – most commonly imprisonment – restricts freedoms and activities of prisoner. Redintegrative shaming – shaming the perpetrator into not re committing the crime. E.g. confronting the victim. Used a lot with young offenders.
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