(麥 嘉 豪 )
Adjunct Associate Professor
BRIEF - Lecture 1
(B). What is a crime?
(C). Principles of Criminal Liability
Chapters 1, 2 and 4 of the Workbook
and some additional information
(A) General Introduction
2. Law regulates conduct in society.
3. Division of Law into civil and criminal law.
4. Civil Law – disputes between individuals.
5. Criminal Law
- disputes between the state and individuals.
- it is about proscriptive (prohibited) and
prescriptive (preferred) rules
6. Prosecution by the State of bad conduct.
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
4. Criminal Law acts as an instrument of
and aims to
5. By achieving the FUNCTIONS
prosecution, due process, and sentencing)
6. Crimes are called offences.
- created by statute or common law
- summary offences;
- indictable offences;
- offences triable either way;
- arrestable and non-arrestable offences.
Basic elements of a crime
7. Ancient Principles of Criminal Law:
- Nullum Crimen Sine Poena;
- Nulla Poena Sine Lege;
- Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Men Sit Rea;
- Lex Prospicit Non Respicit.
8. Examples of Crimes:
- Against state
- treason, sedition, etc.
- aims at protection of national security
- Against persons
- e.g. murder, manslaughter, wounding,
rape, assault, etc.
- aims at protection of persons against
- Against property
- e.g. theft, robbery, fraud, forgery, etc.
- aims at protection of private property .
- 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
- Against public morals
- prostitution, incest, obscenity, sodomy,
- aims at protection of traditional morality.
- Against administration of justice
- e.g. bribery, resisting arrest, perjury etc.
- aims at protection of efficient / honest
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
- Adversarial system
- CX – Inquisitorial system – reverse burden.
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
e.g. – insanity; diminished responsibility.
Accused discharges this on a balance of probabilities
Basic elements of criminal liability
(1) Actus Reus – result of
(2) Mens Rea –
frame of mind
(3) Absence of any defence.
(i) refers to all external elements of a crime.
(ii) relates to the facts or all surrounding
(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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