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Criminal Law Notes

Criminal Law Notes - Criminal Law Notes Criminal Justice...

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Criminal Law Notes Criminal Justice and the Criminal Law Criminal liability is the strongest formal condemnation that society can inflict and this can result in a severe deprivation of ordinary liberties. Criminal liability carried the strong implication of ‘ought not to do’. Punishment for a crime requires a clear social justification. Criminal Law aims to prohibit behaviour that represents a serious wrong against an individual or a fundamental social value or institution. Some actions are not serious enough for legal liability or it is not appropriate to punish in this manner. Equally, some criminal acts are not that serious. Criminal law is not solely concerned with serious crime; there are less serious crimes which have appropriately lighter punishments. Some criminal liability is imposed by Parliament as a practical means of regulating activities which have less social stigma attached to the action. The division between criminal and non-criminal behaviour- distinction between moral and immoral conduct and between serious wrongful and less wrongful behaviour. Many crimes are civil wrongs also, which can lead to a criminal sentence but it is up to the claimant whether they sue for damages in criminal law. Making conduct a crime implies that the action has support from people that it the conduct should be illegal, and thus people expected there to be a state prescribed punishment. The CPS should act on suspicion that a person has acted illegally, and should ensure that they act for the good of the people, not in the interest of just one individual. Even if a crime specifically injures one person, such as in a domestic violence case, but the state still has an interest in the action that was committed as the act should be condemned as a whole community. Some crimes cannot be prosecuted without the testimony of the victim so sometimes where a victim is uncooperative there can be no prosecution. Victims can make Victim Personal Statements, but the courts shouldn’t take account of the victims (or their families) views. As there are too many types of crime, no definitive definition can be given. Definition- “In short, a crime is an act capable of being followed by criminal proceedings having a criminal outcome”. “Official/formal censure giving liability to punishment” and a conviction have a stigma attached that has a number of implications. HRA- Art 6- any person charged with a criminal offence has a right to be presumed innocent, a right to legal aid, a right to confront witnesses, a right to an interpreter etc. ECtHR- whether a person is charged with a criminal offence is to be dealt with by a court based on the evidence presented as to the situation- “Anti-subversion device”- Strasbourg method of preventing governments from manipulating the criminal/civil boundary so avoiding the extra procedural rights.
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