Review: The Meaning of Crime
Before we begin…
1. Define “crime”
2. Give an example of a new type of crime
3. Give an example of something which was once a crime, but is no
longer a crime
4. Explain why laws relating to crime change over time
5. List the main ways that criminal law is different to civil law
Before a criminal trial can occur, two fundamental
elements of a case must be demonstrated by the
Latin for ‘guilty act’
Must be a voluntary
act (no duress),
BUT can also be a
failure to act (esp.
when ‘duty of care’
Latin for ‘guilty mind’
Intending to commit
Must understand what
was happening when
the crime was
committed, and what
Actus reus Mens rea
Intention Recklessness Criminal
• Clear, malicious
or wilful intention
to commit the
• The highest and
most difficult level
of mens rea to
• Awareness that
could lead to a
• Intermediate level
• Prosecution must
prove that a
• Failure to foresee
the risk when one
to occur – usually
resulting in harm
to or death of
• Lowest level of
• Higher standard
of proof than civil
Identify actus reus and mens rea in the
Cop Brett McCormick pleads not guilty to reckless
conduct over high-speed chase
A POLICE officer who rammed into a fleeing offender's vehicle during a high-speed pursuit has pleaded not guilty to reckless
Leading Sen-Constable Brett McCormick, 38, was behind the wheel of a marked police vehicle with his lights flashing on
Wellington Rd, Mulgrave when he executed a U-turn and crashed into an oncoming Commodore driven by Aaron Vilbro in
Vilbro, who later told police he had been recently released from jail, had failed to stop when an unmarked police SS station
wagon driven by Sgt Dean Pickering tried to intercept him for speeding and gave chase from Wheelers Hill, a County Court
jury heard yesterday.
Video evidence from a camera in Sgt Pickering's vehicle of the subsequent pursuit was shown in court and depicted Vilbro's
Commodore speeding and continually crossing to the wrong side of the road. Sgt Pickereing used his police radio to update
D24 and a pursuit controller as the chase continued and Sen-Constable McCormick positioned his vehicle in Wellington Rd to
prepare to take over the pursuit, the court heard. As the Commodore entered Wellington off Springvale Rd it accelerated
and then slowed and Sen-Constable McCormick's police sedan collided with the right-hand side of Vilbro's vehicle, the jury
heard. The court was told police had no policy of ramming cars in order to end a pursuit.
When arrested, Vilbro was asked about endangering other drivers and said "it's not my problem", the court was told. He
was uninjured in the crash and three other males were in his vehicle Amphetamines and a scale were found in Vilbro's
vehicle and he was charged with a range of traffic offences and later pleaded guilty to evading police, the court heard.
Defence lawyer Geoffrey Steward said it was "totally rejected and denied by the defence the allegation that Brett
McCormick deliberately drove into the car driven by Aaron Vilbro ... although Vilbro was driving in a reckless, dangerous and
But prosecutor Bill Stougiannos said the Crown alleged "this ramming of the vehicle was an unreasonable act on his
(McCormick's) part, an unnecessary action, an unlawful action.“ Sen-Constable McCormick yesterday pleaded not guilty to
reckless conduct that may have placed others in danger of serious injury.
The trial, before Judge Sue Pullen continues.
Man charged after assaulting
A 21-year-old man has been charged after allegedly assaulting a female ambulance
paramedic in the city overnight.
About 2.20am Sunday, police attached to Operation Simmer were patrolling George
Street, Haymarket, when they came across the man who they said was unresponsive
and possibly intoxicated.
Officers called for assistance from NSW Ambulance, whose paramedics attended a
short time later.
Police allege that as a female paramedic attempted to treat the man, he struck her in
the face and pushed her to the ground, before starting to kick her.
Police intervened and – after a short struggle – the man was arrested.
The paramedic, who has taken time off from work, suffered wrist and back injuries, as
well as contusions to her face, a NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said.
The Plumpton man was taken to Sydney City Police Station and charged with common
He was granted conditional bail to appear before the Downing Centre Local Court on
Operation Simmer, which focuses on Sydney's CBD, Darlinghurst and Kings Cross, is
conducted in the city every weekend as part of a summer-long crackdown targeting
alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.
R v Thomas Sam; R v Manju Sam (no.
18)  NSWSC 1003
See p7 of
reus in this
Can you think of any examples
where mens rea might not be
Eg: mental illness, age of
criminal understanding (doli
Does this help to achieve
Evaluate the extent to which the law
balances the rights of victims, offenders