What are the characteristics of Crime
- ⇨ A crime is a public wrong doing against a victim
- ⇨ A crime requires mens rea ie a guilty mind
- ⇨ A crime is a wrongdoing that attracts a punishment
- ⇨ Difference between a civil and crimal punishment as in Gilligan -v- Criminal Assets Bureau - Court ruled proceedings under the 1996 Act are in rem (against the thing) as opposed to in personam (against the person)
What are the Classification of Crimes?
At common law, there are 3 types of offences Treason, felonies and misdemeanours. Crimes are no longer classified as ether felony or a misdemeanour as the distinctions were abolished by Section 3 (1), Criminal Law Act 1997
What are the classified headings of Crime?
- ⇨ The Serious Offence - a serious offence is an offence for which a person of full capacity and not previously convicted may be punished by imprisonment for a term of 5 years
- ⇨ The Minor Offence - Article38.2 of the Consitution sets out that minor offence may be tired by courts o summary jurisdiction and the only court like that in ierland is the District Court therefore if you are charged with a minor offence you will be tried in the District Court without a jury (i.e driving offences, fights etc)
- ⇨ The Summary Offence - a summary offence is tried summarily (in the DC), some offences such a assault or offensive conduct in a public place are always tried summarily
- ⇨ The Indictable Offence - an idictable offence is always tried on indictment ie in the Circuit Criminal Court, the Special Crimal Court or the Central Criminal Court - offences such as murder or rape are always tried on indictment - some indictment cases can be tried summarily but it has to be proven that the crime constitutes a minor offence, the accused is informed by the court and does not object and the DPP is satisfied.
What is "Actus Reus"?
- The literal translation of actus reus is "guilty act"
- Actus Reus always includes the accused conduct, it is usually the act but may be an omission
What is omission in relation to Actus Reus?
Omission is a failure to act. An omission does not give rise to criminal liability. Example failing to give a breathalyser test. R-v-Stone & Anr. Couple - his sister moved in and suffered from sever anxiety - would stay in room and not eat - omission is they never notified garda, social worker etc.
What is Causation?
Factual Causation ⇨ Legal Causation
- The Criminal distinguishes between factual causation and Legal Causation - Factual Causation is proved by satisfying the "but-for-test"
- Proving Legal Causation entails proving an unbroken chain of causation. if the chain if causation was broken by something subsequent to the accused conduct - he may be exonerated by novus actus intervenious (a new act intervening)
Types of Novus Actus Intervenious?
- Medical Treatment - R-v-Jordan 1956 the deceased was stabbed - recovered from injury - medical carers gave him antibiotic which he proved to be allergic to. it was discontinued but later given to him again -it was the cause of his death - the ruling was held as it was a novus actus intervenious as the stab wound would have healed with time.
- Non-Medical Intervention - In People -v- McGrath - deceased was shot by the accused - left at the side of the road - doctor came accross him - went for help- when he got back it was discovered that a priest had moved him to a hospital - accused tried to say it was due to causation that he died- judge said no as it was the normal course that an innocent by stander would help
- Natural Events - R-v-Hallett - The victim had made sexual advances to the accused - fought on the beach - accused knocked the victim out - then fell asleep - woke up and the victim had been drowned by the incoming tide - tried to claim a causation - court did not accept - said that the forces of nature cannot be regarded as so extraordinary as to allow the argument to be successful.
What is Mens Rea?
- Mens Rea is a guilty mind.
- As a general rule, each part of actus rues requires proof of a corresponding mens rea. Regarding the conduct part of the actus reus, it must be proven that the accused conduct was voluntary, regarding the circumstances part of actus reus, it must be proven that the accused knew of the circumstances or was reckless to it existence.
What are the types of Intention?
- The courts have been reluctant to define intention preferring to instead leave the matter to the common sense of the jury.
- ⇨ Direct Intention - Speaking in terms of mens rea - intend to kill or to cause serious harm