Criminal Law Sample Paper On Statutory Rape, Strict Liability, and the Public Welfare Offense Model

Criminal Law

Introduction

            This case study analysis discusses t various forms of criminal liability of a student who breaks the law in different situations. Criminal liability is the responsibility for the actions done to cause harm to the society or an individual. This liability is punishable by law after the suspect has faced prosecution by the government. Crimes demand intent. This implies that the criminal must have had the desire to do the act and must have actually carried out the desired acts. If a suspect is in his/her normal state of mind, he/she is criminally liable (Allen, 2005). This is regardless of the motive of the actions committed.

Background

            Fred is a Law Extension Committee’s former student. He passed his previous examinations but failed in the first subject at the newly enrolled university. The University is in NSW. The failed subject was legal ethics. The student has many reasons as to why he failed. He believes that he never received the best quality lecturing on the subject. He also believes that the materials, which were offered to him, were inadequate yet he was charged exorbitant fees of $3,500. According to him, the university was a ‘rip off’ when compared to the bright lecturing he acquired while he was at the Law Extension Committee. Fred believes that he failed due to the school fees he was given by Audrey, his ailing grandmother. Fred is upset over his failure and is determined to revenge and compensate for the lost marks. He therefore tries to revenge by harassing his lecturer, Sue.

All through the legal ethics lecture, Fred plans a revenge mission. As the lecture ends, some students approach the lecturer with questions concerning the course. As the lecturer is addressing the students, Fred notices the lecturer’s iphone and a folder among the lecturer’s notes. The folder is indicated that it is for the lecturer only, and not for students. Fred grabs the lecturer’s notes for his own reading. He also takes the phone and walks out of the lecture theater. On his way home, he realizes his mistakes; he scrolls through the phone and realizes that it is an old model, which would not earn him much. At home, he calls the ‘Lost and Found’ office and notifies them of the phone he picked while on his way out of the lecture theatre. He returns the phone the following day and keeps the folder with the notes for his own benefits. The folder contained a portion of the upcoming examinations. As he is still enraged with the lecturer’s incompetence, Fred decides to play a prank on her. On one of the evenings after the lecture, he notices Sue. Fred decides to follow her to a dark and lonely area. He puts on a balaclava and runs in front of Sue. Standing a short distance from her, Fred scares Sue so much and then disappears. From a previous incident, Sue had been scared the same way by another student. This repetitive action continuously scares her. She begins to have nightmares and fails to report to work for several days. After seeing a psychiatrist, it becomes evident that Sue has severe depression. Fred according to his actions, Fred has criminal liability to face.

Criminal liabilities

Possession of stolen property

            Fred decided to steal Sue’s phone and lecture notes as a revenge for failing in the first legal ethics examinations. It is a crime to acquire goods belonging to someone else. If Sue can accept that her phone and lecture notes were stolen, and then Fred is likely to be charged with felony. This is in connection to the value of the phone and the lecture notes. If Sue will not realize that the phone was stolen, then Fred may not face the charges for the phone. However, he is likely to face the charges for the stolen lecture notes, which had a rough copy of the upcoming examinations. There is however difficulty in proving that Fred is indeed guilty of the committed crime. This is because he was not seen by anyone. After carefully accessing the phone and realizing that it is of little value financially, he decides to return it to the ‘lost and found’ office. It is also difficult for Sue to place charges on Fred for the stolen notes. This is because the students while still in the Lecture Theater distracted her. Therefore, it was difficult for her to notice her missing possessions. Furthermore, no one seemed to have noticed Fred as he fled with the materials.

            According to the Australian Crimes Act (NSW), 1900, it is a federal crime to have stolen goods. This is under the constitutional 5 section 187-188 (Allen, 2005). The charges state that the act of consciously receiving, hiding, attempting to, and disposing of someone else’s property with is a serious criminal act. Fred is to be found guilty. This is because he took and disposed the stolen goods, moved the goods from the school to his house. The goods are valuable considering that the lecture notes had the upcoming draft of examinations. In addition to this, Fred knowingly committed the crime. The government must also prove that Fred was the one who indeed took and moved the phone and the notes. This can be tasking. However, the ‘lost and found’ office can be of great help. Sue can also come up and report the missing property from the lecture notes. If it is difficult for the government to prove, then Fred is still to face the charges, as he has to prove the exact position of picking the notes.

            To be guilty of the crimes, Fred ought to know that his actions were stealing, instead of revenge. In as much as then crime committed may be under felony, Fred still has to face commonwealth charges. This is because he is still in possession of the stolen property. The purpose was dishonest. The government will have to prove this. The proof may be a heavy task as Fred was on a revenge mission. Since, the phone was returned to the owner, it might not be regarded as a stolen property in the time when Fred is to be convicted. He will still be convicted of the crime of stealing and owning the lecture notes which had a clear label of ‘for lecturer only, not for students.’ As he continued to use the notes, Fred is likely to face charges on dishonest gain of stolen property. The charges may be increased if Fred will not have tempered with the label. Fred is therefore liable on indictment. He is also likely to be imprisoned for a term not more than six months. He may also pay a fine not more than any stated sum. He is also likely to get both punishments (Allen, 2005). This is in relation to the magistrate’s judgment.

Charges against Psychological harassment

            After scaring Sue, Fred fled away. In as much as he did not touch her, Fred made Sue become depressed after going through nightmares. Fred is likely to face various charges. Under section 15.33, it is an offense to harass and intimidate a student of a staff member while in school. This is also under the Crimes Act 1900. This is because other than scaring Sue, he failed to own up the mistake even after realizing that the teacher is sick and under psychiatric care. It is clear that psychological harassment can cause psychological disorders. The level of harassment seemed to be increasing in Sue’s case. Fred was the second person to have scared her in the same manner. Fred influenced Sue’s thought and intimidated her. Fred is therefore likely to face criminal charges of harassment (Allen, 2005). He may face charges for imprisonment without bail. In as much as Sue did not die, Sue was hospitalized and had to seek psychiatric assistance. This shows the depth of Fred’s psychological trauma. Fred is also likely to face second-degree murder charges. This is because of the emotional stress Fred caused the lecturer.

Sue is likely to have been frightened because of stalking. Fred was stalking her from behind. He waited until she had reached a dark area before frightening her. From her previous encounters, she was afraid and thought it was the same person who is still stalking her. Fred is to face these charges because of the continuous actions he had done to Sue. Despite the fact that he was not the first to have caused emotional turmoil, he is still likely to face the same punishment is found guilty. This case is also difficult to prove. This is because there were no witnesses at the scene. The area was dark. It is also clear that Sue did not recognize Fred. Fred has failed to come clean of his actions (Carpenter, 2003).

Conclusion

Criminal law is one of the grievous punishments by law (Carpenter, 2003). The criminal is to face different punishments depending on the extent of the crime committed. Fred as a Law Extension Committee’s former student passes his first exams but fails in his transfer legal ethics examinations. He blames other people for his failure and plots revenge. Despite the absence of witnesses and Sue’s knowledge of Fred’s actions, Fred is punishable by Federal law. In the first case, the criminal knowingly committed the acts as a way of revenging for the lost grade. As a suspect, Fred is to face punishment for possession of the stolen goods, Fred may face half a year prison term. He is also to face charges on psychological harassment. He scares Sue to depression. In as much as Sue did not die, Sue was hospitalized and had to seek psychiatric assistance. This shows the depth of Fred’s psychological trauma. Fred is also likely to face second-degree murder charges. Despite his hidden identity, he caused emotional turmoil to Sue. As such, there are various ramifications he is likely to face when proved guilty. The government has to unravel the truth and prove Fred is guilty.

References

Allen, M. (2005). Textbook on Criminal Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carpenter, J. (2003). On Statutory Rape, Strict Liability, and the Public Welfare Offense Model. American Law Review 53 (2), 313-391.