In this chapter, you will study the nature and meaning of crime. You will also be introduced to the different categories and elements of crimes and the possible parties to a crime, and consider the various factors affecting criminal behaviour.
a causal link needs to be established between the accused and the act they are accused of
for example, if a person assaults another person by kicking them in the leg, and that person dies later that day, did the assault in some way cause the death, and if so, could it constitute manslaughter?
crimes can be categorised in many different ways, for example the type of offence, jurisdiction of offence, seriousness of the offence, or the level of involvement in the offence
in NSW, the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) is the main statute where crimes are listed
the main categories and examples of crime in the Crimes Act are shown on the next slide
Type of offence Examples Offences against the person Homicide, assault, sexual assault Offences against the sovereign Treason, sedition Economic offences Property offences, white-collar crime, computer offences Drug offences Trafficking, possession, use Driving offences Speeding, drink driving, negligent driving Public order offences Offensive conduct, obstructing traffic, affray, bomb hoaxes Preliminary offences Attempts, conspiracy Regulatory offences Breach of water restrictions, fire restrictions or public transport rules
summary offences are less severe offences heard and sentenced by a magistrate, without a jury
indictable offences are more serious, and can be heard by a judge and a jury
the characteristics of each type are summarised in the table in the next slide
Summary and indictable offences
Summary offence Indictable offence • a less serious offence that is tried by a magistrate in the Local Court • a more serious offence (such as murder, rape or robbery) tried by a judge and jury • the judgment and punishment are determined by a magistrate • the judgment is determined by a jury and the punishment is determined by the judge • the charge is usually laid by a police officer or government officer • the charge is brought by a public prosecutor working for the state • punishment is usually less severe, like a fine or good behaviour bond • the punishment will usually result in imprisonment or a hefty fine