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Foundation of Criminal Law - Essay Example

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Foundations of Criminal Law Name: Institution: Question 1 Criminal damage refers to the malicious, intentional or unintentional destruction of another person’s property by acts such as arson. The law on criminal damage is contained in the criminal damage act of 1971 under the English law (Katz, Moore and Morse, 1999, p.76)…
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Foundations of Criminal Law Question Criminal damage refers to the malicious, intentional or unintentional destruction of another person’s property by acts such as arson. The law on criminal damage is contained in the criminal damage act of 1971 under the English law (Katz, Moore and Morse, 1999, p.76). The act creates offenses that are meant to protect property and provides a framework for dealing with offences such as arson and which may endanger lives. Punishments under this act can include imprisonment for life, penalties and victim compensation. There exist three main categories of offences under this act namely: simple criminal damage, aggravated criminal damage and criminal charge by arson. Simple criminal damage arises where a person destroys property belonging to another intentionally or unintentionally without a legal excuse. The Actus Reus of this offense exists in that there must be the property; the property belongs to another person and is damaged. The Mens Rea of an absolute criminal damage consists damaging another person's property intentionally. Intention applies where the person has sufficient believe that property belongs to them including where they are mistaken at law. Second is the Aggravated criminal damage. This offense arises where property has been damaged with an aggravated factor of endangering the life of another person. An example is where a person damages a gas canister leaving it leaking (Katz, Moore and Morse, 1999, p.120). The criminal damage act provides for a crime in the destruction of property belonging to another person and in the due course endangering their lives. The Actus Reus of an aggravated criminal damage includes the existence of property, which must belong to another person. The property must be destroyed and life endangered. It is necessary to note that, in aggravated criminal damage, property may be belonging to the person causing the damage. Also, necessary to note is that the danger to life must arise from the destruction of property. The Mens Rea of aggravated criminal damage provides that there must be an intention as to destroy property and a sense of recklessness leading to endangering life (Katz, Moore and Morse, 1999, p.114). Theft is taking of another person’s property without the permission of that person with the intention of depriving that person the right to use the property. Theft has been used informally to include all crimes related to stealing, such as robbery and burglary. A person in a crime of theft is called a thief and his crime is stealing. It is a statutory offense under the theft act of 1968 and punishment includes imprisonment and penalties. Burglary, on the other hand, relates to the breaking in into another person’s house or building illegally or without permission with the sole purpose of committing a crime. In most cases under the English laws, the crimes committed in burglary are usually theft. Robbery, on the other hand, is crime associated with the use of force to take another person’s property without their consent. The use of force instils fear in the suspect and might even harm the person being robbed, sometimes fatally. In contrast to theft, in robbery force is used (Katz, Moore and Morse, 1999, p.206). Question 2 Theft as discussed in question 1 above is the taking of another person’s property with the intention to deprive that person the right to use the property. It is a statutory offence under the theft act of 1968, in England and Wales. The key word in the definition of theft by the theft Act of 1968 is the appropriation of another person’s property, the meaning of the word appropriation was a question brought to book in case before the House of Lords in a case, R verses Hinks. In R vs. Hinks 2000, a case was head on appeal by the House of Lords with its core mandate being to interpret the use of the word Appropriate as used in the theft act of 1968 (Russell, 2001, p.34). Miss Hink had been given a gift of money by an old man, John Dolphin, and it was questioned if the gift amounted to appropriation. It was determined that acquisition of an indefeasible title to property amounted to an appropriation under the theft act (1999, p.98). The advantage of this ruling is that it clearly defines appropriation and cancels out the mischief in its interpretation. The ruling also serves to protect the people in the society who are taken advantage of due to mental or physical incapacity to make clear judgements and are influenced to give undue gifts. However, the disadvantage of this ruling is that it criminalises the appropriation of gifts of indefeasible property (Russell, 2001, p. 45). A person may receive a gift without influencing the person giving but then afterwards sued for appropriation f that person’s property. This to some extent criminalises gifts. Question 4 A homicide is the act of taking another person life by a human, and it includes crimes such a murder and manslaughter (Katz, Moore and Morse, 1999, p.192). A homicide is not necessarily punishable at law depending on the legal view point, which separate it from murder. A murder, on the other hand, is the illegal killing of another person with an intention to do so. In a murder, there must be a malicious aforethought to commit the crime. Murder is considered one of the most serious crimes in the society with a murder handed the harshest possible punishment. The Mens Rea of murder includes killing of a person, which is committed by another person and is unlawful. Also, malice aforethought must be proven for intent (Russell, 2001, p.56). Manslaughter refers to the killing of another person without prior intention or a malicious aforethought. It is Mens Rea being the state of mind of the person lacking malice or intention. Manslaughter attracts minimum punishment, but it is essential to note that, in manslaughter, a person must not be aware that his actions may lead to the death of another person hence the Mens Rea of lack of intention to kill (Russell, 1999, p.76). Bibliography Katz, L., Moore, S.M. & Morse, J.S. 1999. Foundations of criminal law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Russell, H. 2001. Criminal Law: Cases and Materials (3rd ed.), London: Blackstone Press Read More
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