Legal Studies

Topics: Crime, Criminal law, Jury Pages: 6 (1950 words) Published: March 14, 2011
HSC Legal Studies Research Task – Crime
Identify the correct legal citation of the case
R v Faehndrich [2008] NSWSC 877 (29 August 2008)
Outline the Elements of the offence
On 11 April 2008, John Harry Faehndrich was convicted by a jury of the charge that he, on 13 August 2006, at Forster in the State of New South Wales, did murder Dianne Condon. The deceased died when she was stabbed by the prisoner with a pair of scissors and her vertebral artery was incised. The prisoner stabbed her a minimum of four times to the right and right back of the neck. A heavy degree of force was used causing very extensive injuries to the spinal column and upper area. Describe the factors that might have led to the criminal behaviour * Provocation - It was the prisoner’s case at trial that he was acting under provocation when he killed Dianne Condon. the prisoner was provoked by the annoying and inconsistent conduct of the deceased – that is, that it may have disposed him to become angry or lose his temper. Mr Bodor contends that something occurred that was provocative to the prisoner given his dysfunctional nature and his clear mental illness * Relationship - The relationship between the deceased and the prisoner was turbulent. The Crown in submissions referred to the offence occurring “in the background of a dysfunctional relationship of three months duration between two dysfunctional individuals.” Only rational inference is that the deceased intended leaving the prisoner, it for this reason that the prisoner killed the deceased. * Mental Illness - Dr Nielssen had diagnosed the prisoner as having a recurrent depressive illness, alcohol abuse and personality disorder. The Crown acknowledged before the jury that the prisoner had a long term depressive illness. At the time of the stabbing his capacity to control himself was possibly substantially impaired by his severe depressive illness.Dr Nielsson said, “It may have affected his capacity to control his actions because of sudden severe mood swings associated with the condition.” Dr Giuffrida diagnosed a longstanding and pervasive severe depression and concluded that the prisoner was a very impaired man who had a constellation of anxiety depressive illnesses.

Explain the role of the courts involved
The role of the courts is to apply and interpret laws, both statue and common. * The case was heard in the NSW Supreme Court. As the initial plead was not guilty to murder, a jury decision was necessary.

The judge was required to interpret the following legislation;
* Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
*Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999

The judge also mentioned the following cases;
* R v Engert (1996) 84 A Crim R 67
* R v Fidow [2004] NSWCCA 172
* R v Hemsley [2004] NSWCCA 228
In doing this, the judge was able to determine a suitable punishment for the offender, based on the crime he committed and its intensities.

Identify the plea
On the first day of the trial, the prisoner pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter. The Crown did not accept the plea of guilty to manslaughter in full discharge of the indictment and the trial proceeded on the charge of murder.

Explain the penalty given
For the murder of Diane Condon, John Faehndrich was sentenced to a term of imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 years to commence on 21 August 2006 and is to expire on 20 August 2021. He is eligible to be released to parole on 20 August 2021. It is a condition of release to parole that psychiatric treatment and appropriate medication continue.

Discuss the various factors that affect the sentencing decision (subjective circumstances) Mitigating Factors
Offence was not planned - It is a factor in mitigation that the murder was not planned: s 21A(3)(b) Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act. Faehndrich insisted that his actions were out of self-defence. Offender was provoked - the prisoner was provoked by the annoying and inconsistent conduct of the...
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