criminal law

Topics: Criminal law, Actus reus, Mens rea Pages: 11 (1011 words) Published: December 27, 2014
2014/10/3

Criminal Law
Hanif Mughal
(麥 嘉 豪 )
Adjunct Associate Professor

(

兼任教授)

Barrister-at-law
(

大律師 )

DLS 2

BRIEF - Lecture 1
(A).General Introduction
(B). What is a crime?
(C). Principles of Criminal Liability
Chapters 1, 2 and 4 of the Workbook
and some additional information
2

(A) General Introduction
1.General Principles.
2. Law regulates conduct in society.
3. Division of Law into civil and criminal law.
4. Civil Law – disputes between individuals.

3

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5. Criminal Law
- disputes between the state and individuals.
- it is about proscriptive (prohibited) and
prescriptive (preferred) rules
of conduct.
6. Prosecution by the State of bad conduct.
4

State is generic term.

(B) What is a Crime?
1. Morality and Illegality;
2. A crime is an injury against society.
Harmful conduct against societal interests.
3. Essence is PUNISHMENT

5

4. Criminal Law acts as an instrument of
and aims to

SOCIAL CONTROL
protect interests.

5. By achieving the FUNCTIONS

of

criminal law

(detection, investigation,
prosecution, due process, and sentencing)

6

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6. Crimes are called offences.
- created by statute or common law
- summary offences;
- indictable offences;
- offences triable either way;
- arrestable and non-arrestable offences.

7

Basic elements of a crime

Actus Reus

-

guilty act

Mens Rea

-

guilty mind

8

7. Ancient Principles of Criminal Law:
- Nullum Crimen Sine Poena;
- Nulla Poena Sine Lege;
- Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Men Sit Rea;

9

- Lex Prospicit Non Respicit.

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8. Examples of Crimes:

- Against state
- treason, sedition, etc.
- aims at protection of national security

10

- Against persons
- e.g. murder, manslaughter, wounding,
rape, assault, etc.
- aims at protection of persons against
violence

- Against property

- e.g. theft, robbery, fraud, forgery, etc.
- aims at protection of private property .

11

- Against public order
- riot, drugs, motor vehicle offences,
possession of offensive weapons, etc
- aims at protection of public order,
peace and safety .

- Against habitation

- e.g. burglary, etc.
- aims at protection of safety & security in
one’s home.

12

- Against public morals
- prostitution, incest, obscenity, sodomy,
gambling, etc
- aims at protection of traditional morality.

4

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- Against administration of justice
- e.g. bribery, resisting arrest, perjury etc.
- aims at protection of efficient / honest
public administration

13

9. Presumption of innocence
- Woolmington v DPP 1935
- Art. 11 BORO Cap. 383; Art. 39 Basic Law
- Accused – the person arrested is presumed
innocent of the offence until proven
guilty.
- Adversarial system
- CX – Inquisitorial system – reverse burden.
14

10. Burden of Proof on prosecution.
- on all elements of offence.
11. Standard of Proof
Proof by evidence of guilt by the prosecution

beyond a reasonable doubt.
Right of Silence by accused.
N.B. In some limited cases accused bears legal burden of
proof:
e.g. – insanity; diminished responsibility.
Accused discharges this on a balance of probabilities
15

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(c)

Principles of
Criminal Liability
Basic elements of criminal liability

(1) Actus Reus – result of
accused’s act.
(2) Mens Rea –
guilty mind/
frame of mind
(3) Absence of any defence.
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(1)

Actus Reus

conduct;
consequences;
circumstances;
causation.

17

(i) refers to all external elements of a crime.
(ii) relates to the facts or all surrounding
circumstances.

(iii) involves a positive act;
(iv) can include an omission to act where
accused is under a legal duty to act;

R v Pittwood 1902
Gate keeper at level crossing failed to close gate
causing death of victim.

Stone v Dobinson 1977
Victim unable to look after herself. D’s undertook her
care. Not call for...
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