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Flashcards in The Nature of Crime Deck (36)
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What are the themes and challenges associated with crime

  • The role of discretion in the CJS
  • Issues of compliance and non-compliance in regard to criminal law
  • The extent to which the law reflects moral and ethical standards
  • The role of law reform in the CJS
  • The extent to which the law balances rights of victims, offenders and society
  • The effectiveness of legal and non-legal measures in achieving justice


What is the meaning of a crime

A crime is any act or omission committed against the community at large that is punishable by the criminal law of a state (government and the people it governs)


What are the legal characteristics of a crime

  • There must be an act or failure to act
  • Act or omission must be seen as harmful to whole community
  • Act or omission is punishable by the state
  • State takes person who committed act to court where offence must be proved according to rules of criminal procedure


Why is a crime brought by the state

Although crime is against a victim it is brought by the state as act is seen as an attack on ethical and moral standards of society


What are the two fundamental elements of a crime

  • Actus rea 
  • Mens rea


What is actus rea

  • Latin term meaning ‘guilty act’
  • Refers to physical act of carrying out crime


What is mens rea

  • Latin term meaning ‘guilty mind’
  • Means accused intended to commit the crime


What are the three main levels of mens rea 

  • Intention
  • Recklessness
  • Criminal negligence


What is intention in relation to mens rea

Means clear malicious or wilful intention to commit the crime


What is recklessness in relation to mens rea

Means that the accused was aware that their action could lead to a crime being committed, but chose to take risk anyway


What is criminal negligence in relation to mens rea

Where accused fails to foresee the risk where they should have and so allows the avoidable danger manifest


What must prosecution prove for mens rea 

Prosecution must prove that the accused was aware that their actions would result in crime being committed


What must prosecution prove for actus rea

Prosecution must prove accused did carry out the relevant act required for the crime will use physical evidence and witness testimony to prove this


What are strict liability offences

  • Strict liability offences only require ‘actus rea’
  • Many traffic offences are strict liability offences


What must be proved to show causation

Involves proving that there is sufficient causal link between the actions of the accused and the result


What are the 8 categories of crime

  1. Offences against the person
  2. Offences against the soveriegn
  3. Economic offences
  4. Drug offences
  5. Driving offences
  6. Public order offences
  7. Preliminary cimes
  8. Regulatory offences


What are the two main classifications of a criminal offence

  1. Summary offences
  2. Indictable offences


What are summary offences

Relatively minor offences such as driving offences


What are indictbale offences

Serious criminal offences such as murder or assault


What act conatins most summary offences

Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW)


How may less serious indictable offences be dealt with

Less serious indictable offences will be ‘triable summarily’, meaning the case can be heard by a magistrate in the Local Court


What are the four main categories of parties to a crime

  • Principal in the First Degree
  • Principal in the Second Degree
  • Accessory Before the Fact
  • Accessory After the Fact


What is a committal hearing

Initial committal hearing occurs in Local Court to establish prima facie


What is principal in the first degree

This is the principal offender, or the person who actually commits the criminal act.


What is principal in the second degree

This is the person who was present at the crime and assisted or encouraged the principal offender to perform the offence.


What is accessory before the fact

This is someone who has helped in the planning or preparation before the actual act is carried out


What is accessory after the fact

This is someone who has assisted the principal after the actual act is committed, such as by driving a getaway car or disposing evidence


What are the 6 factors affecting criminal behaviour 

  1. Psychological factors
  2. Social factors
  3. Economic factors 
  4. Genetic theory 
  5. Political factors 
  6. Self-interest 


What are the two forms of crime prevention

  • Social
  • Situtational


What is situational crime prevention

  • Involves planning and architectural design which focuses upon the influence of physical environments upon crime
  • Involves focused or situational approaches which views offenders as actors who weigh up potential gains, risks and costs