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Criminal Law and Criminology - Essay Example

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Within the framework of criminal liability, the concept of inchoate liability and criminal attempt emerge as intrinsic elements of a comprehensive structure for the evaluation and determination of criminal responsibility. From the liberal point of view, to hold a person criminally responsible for a crime which has not actually been committed, although evidence indicates that it had been prepared for, implies holding people guilty on the basis of their thoughts alone.1 Indeed, attempts liability entails punishing a person for something which he has not actually done but which he had planned to do at some point in the future…
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Download file "Criminal Law and Criminology" to see previous pages... As may be inferred from the above stated, the subjectivism/objectivism debate effectively mirrors the existent tension between the principles of deed and equal culpability. The objectivist camp believes that criminal liability should be limited to what the person actually did, while the subjectivist camp upholds the expansion of criminal liability towards the embrace of the person's state of mind.
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Accordingly, the objectivist camp upholds the principle of deeds and the subjectivist camp that of equal culpability.3 The complex nature of prevailing criminal law lies it that it is neither one nor the other but seeks the embrace of both positions. This lends to several questions, all of which combine to underscore the controversies inherent in the law of criminal liability.
The first of these questions pertains to the concept of mens rea. ...
As per the objectivist and the subjectivist divide, there are two answers to this. The first define intention as implying that "the agent would necessarily commit an offence in carrying it out."6 The second response states that "intention should only be required for the conduct and the result elements, but not for the circumstance elements, of criminal attempts."7 (Husak, 1997). Divergent responses, reflective of the objectivism/subjectivism divide, only compound the complexities inherent in the determination of criminal liability within the context of the law of attempts.
Divergent interpretations of the concept of attempt, as illustrated in the preceding paragraph, are problematic when considering the import of attempt within the context of English criminal law. As Lord Goddard maintained in Whybrow [1951]8 "intent [is] the principle ingredient of the crime." Indeed, the Criminal Attempts Act of 1981 has embodied this principle.9 As stated in the Criminal Attempts Act of 1981, "If, with intent to commit an offence to which this section applies, a person does an act which is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence, he is guilty of attempting to commit the offence.'10 The implication here is clear. If a person intends to rob a house but fails, he/she will be held liable for intended robbery and if he/she planned to enter a house and kill its occupants, but fails, he/she will be held guilty of attempted murder. If, on the other hand, a person enters a nursing home with the intention to rob, while knowing full well that if seen by any of the residents, the resultant alarm and shock could incite a heart attack culminating in death, he/she will only be held guilty of attempted robbery despite his/her knowledge of ...Download file "Criminal Law and Criminology" to see next pagesRead More
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