Summary of criminal law notes
For criminal liability to result, State must prove, beyond reasonable doubt that (A) had:
Voluntary conduct which is unlawful (actus reus); and
Criminal capacity; and
Fault (mens rea)
CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY
This is an extremely important and topical issue. The increase in corporate crime, including breaches
of health and safety regulations and environmental degradation, has led countries to the increasing
realisation that a compr
Causation is not a universal requirement for all forms of criminal liability. In crimes that involve
an unlawful consequence, rather than an unlawful circumstance, there must be both a factual and
legal causal link between the in
Persons are responsible for their criminal conduct only if the prosecution can prove, beyond
reasonable doubt, that at the time of the conduct they possessed criminal capacity or, in other
words, the capacities for insight (cognitive) and self
The Concept of Fault No liability without fault
Fault is an element of every crime. It takes the form of either intention (dolus) or negligence
(culpa). All common-law crimes require intention except for culpable homicide and cont
In S v Haarmeyer 1971 (A), the AD held that factual causation will be present where the perpetrator is a
sine qua non (but for cause) of the death.
In Minister of Safety and Security v Skosana, the AD discussed the conditio sine qua non
The accuseds conduct must be unlawful (prohibited) in order to lead to criminal liability (i.e.
there must be no defence excluding unlawfulness). If the prosecution does not negate the
existence of such a defence beyond reason
Where the accused has not completed the commission of a specific crime he or she may be liable for
attempt, incitement or conspiracy. These three are inchoate, or incomplete crimes.
1. UNLAWFUL CONDUCT
In respect of the actus reus
SPECIFIC OFFENCES: ASSAULT, THEFT AND RAPE
Assault is the oldest form of criminal iniuria and addresses the infliction of intentional physical
harm. Our law distinguishes between (a) common assault (application of; or inspiring bel
S v Mgedezi 1989 (1) SA 687 (A)
Mine compound shared room 12 by 6 occupants
On the night in question there was an attack, 4 leaders of the compound were killed
Accused where members of the attacking party, no state witnesses could state that an
R v Mbombela 1933 AD 269
The accused was found guilty of the murder of a nine-year-old child. The accused,
between 18 and 20 years of age, living in a rural area was described by the court as
of rather below the normal intelligence. On the day in question
PARTICIPATION BEFORE THE COMPLETION OF THE CRIME
Participation in crime is divided into that which occurs before the crime is completed and
participation occurring after. Some of the earlier cases refer to the Latin term socius criminus which
is not a ver
S v Coetzee and others 1997 (1) SACR 379 (CC)
Right to be presumed innocent in terms of s 25(3)(c) of 93 Constitution Presumption in s 245 of CPA relating to onus of proof in offences of which false
representation an element-Presumption a 'reverse onus' p
THE PRINCIPLE OF LEGALITY NULLUM CRIMEN SINE LEGE
The principle of legality has been part of the common law for a very long time. It goes back to the
Middle Ages, to the days of despotic leaders who used the law as a method of authoritarian rule. It
KNOWLEDGE OF UNLAWFULNESS
We look now at the case law pertaining to knowledge of unlawfulness De Blom, Du Toit and
Amalgamated Beverage Industries.
De Blom is arguably the most important case in criminal law.
S v De Blom 1977 (A)
ANSWERING A PROBLEM QUESTION
Begin with the definition of the crime which obviously springs to mind. Describe the burden
of proof as well as who bears the onus. If there is more than one possibility then do the same
for each crime
1. UNLAWFUL CONDUCT
A. VOLUNTARY HUMAN CONDUCT
Whether a juristic person can be held to be criminally liable is dealt with in S 332 of The
Criminal Procedure Act. It was originally doubted, but modern society and rife criminal activity
in companies has ch
2. THE PRINCIPLE OF LEGALITY NULLUM CRIMEN SINE LEGE
The principle of legality has been part of the common law for a very long time. It was originally
based on the separation of powers, as a way to limit the extent to which rulers could influence the
Exam 11 November
1 Q out of each section, i.e. answer one from section A and one from section B. Will be problem
On entire course: lectures, and tutorials.
Useful Definitions of Crimes
Murder is the unlawful and int
CH 37 INTRODICTION TO INCOMPLETE OR INCHOATE OFFENCES
Where the accused has not completed the commission of a specific offence, he/she may
be liable for:
- incitement or conspiracy
to commit that offence.
I WHY ARE INCOMPLETE CRIMES PUNISHABLE?
CH 36 PARTICIPATION AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THE CRIME
For defeating or attempting to defeat the course or administration of justice.
Not an accessory intervenes after completion of the crime.
Someone who after the completion o
COMPULSION SLIDE SET
COMPULSION / NECESSITY
What we will be covering:
Definition and rationale
LEGAL INTEREST endangered
Threat must be COMMENCED or IMMINENT
Threat NOT CAUSED BY
CAPACITY SLIDE SET 1
Lecture 1 continued
Simple definition Merriam-Webster Dictionary
the abilit y to hold or contain people or things
the larges t a mount or number that can be held or contained
SUPERIOR ORDERS LECTURE OVERVIEW
The defence of superior orders:
What we will be covering:
Often peace workers, particularly the SA military in other areas in Africa, are violent
Army officers have to
Voluntary Human Conduct
1. Principle Informing this element of liability
2. How does the basic rule translate into the context of possession offences?
3. What conduct has been found to amount to involuntary c
CAUSATION: BASIC RULES
People have free will so they should be held accountable for their actions under their free will.
When? In consequence crimes not involving a common purpose.
Appears most often in murder and culpable homicide.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Intro - Concepts and definitions
Criminal law is the branch of national law that defines certain forms of human conduct as crimes
and provides for the punishment of those persons with criminal capacity who unlawfully
Criminal Law: Problem Question 9
The first issue to be solved is whether the offence described; the failure to register the phone and sim
card is one which can be applied with strict liability. If strict liability is attached, then the l
Relevant in cases of unlawful consequence rather than unlawful consequence
Must be both the factual and legal cause of the consequence.
Common Purpose legislation means that there need not be a causal link between the actions of
Chapter 10 An Act of Commission or Ommission:
An actual act
Failure to act according to a certain standard- usually defined i.t.o the 'reasonable person'
General Rules for Ommissions:
SA law has no general duty to interven
Defences against Unlawfulness
ALL ASSESSED OBJECTIVELY
Chapter 13: Public Authority (194 215)
Some officers of the court or State can be immune from punishment for the commission of certain
crimes. The presumption that the State
THE CONTEMPORANEITY RULE
Where fault is an element of a crime, the unlawful conduct and the fault must exist at the same time
This brings together the actus reus and mens rea elements of criminal liability. Where fault is an