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Lecture

CRM 101 - Boundaries of Criminology and Criminal Law


Department
Criminology
Course Code
CRM 101
Professor
Gurpreet Johal

Page:
of 4
CRM 101: Boundaries of Criminology and Criminal Law
WHAT IS CRIME?
There is no single response, they are constantly changing and shifting on what w
e believe a crime is.
Certain types of crimes can be justified, ex. killing is a crime yet it is allow
ed in war
Crime is always socially defined
Boundaries of this definition have changed over time and space
SOCIAL CONTEXT OF CRIME
Important in helping shape our understanding of and reaction to criminal acts an
d actors
Shaped by Following Factors:
Victim
Offender
Specific Nature of the crime
Location of the Crime
Rationale of the Crime
DEVIANCE AND CRIME
Behaviour that violates social norms, including laws
Customary ways of doing everyday things are governed by norms
More serious deviant behaviour is governed by laws
There is a continuum of crime and deviance
Degree of consensus
Severity of social response
Degree of Harm
TWO APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF RULE-MAKING
The Consensus Approach
Laws represent the agreement of most the people in society that certain
acts should be prohibited in criminal law
The Conflict Approach
Laws are passed by the powerful in order to maintain their privledged po
sition by keeping the common people under control
MORAL ENTREPENEURS
People who are passionate about a cause
Use of politicial, economic, educational influence to raise awareness about an i
ssue
Work towards making changed in law
MEDIA
Most people learn about crime throught the media
The media portrayal of crime is not accurate - 'If it bleeds it leads'
Crime in the media is much more violent than crime in the community
Series such as CSI also distort the realities of the justice system
Through modeling, the media may also contribute to crime
PUBLIC OPINION
Public influence of definitions of criminal behaviour via:
Pressure politicians to change laws
Normalize illicit behaviour via mass participation
Criminalize normal behaviour via mass participation
WHAT IS A CRIME?
According to a formal legal definition:
A crime is an act that violates the criminal law and is punishable with
jail terms, fines, and other sections
Some issues about the definition:
Regulatory Offenses VS. True Crime
Are human right violations, white collar activity crimes?
WHAT IS CRIMINOLOGY?
Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It
includes the process of:
Making Laws
Breaking Laws
Reacting to Breaking Laws
The objective of criminology is the development of a body of general and verifie
d principles regarding these processes
CRIMINOLOGY HAS 6 MAJOR AREAS:
The definition of crime and criminals
The origins and role of law
The social distribution of crime
The causation of Crime
Patterns of criminal behaviour
Social reaction to crime
WHAT IS CRIMINAL LAW?
A body of juriprudence that includes:
The definition of various crimes
The specification of various penalties
A set of general principles concerning criminal responsibility
A series of defences to criminal charges
THE SOURCES OF CRIMINAL LAW:
Federal Legislation:
Federal govt
Has exclusive jurisdiction over criminal law and procedure
Quasi-Criminal Law:
Regulator Offences:
I.E Driving offences that can result in fines or imprisonment
Judicial decisions that interpret criminal legislation or expound the common law
.
common law is judge-made law that covers areas not covered by legislatio
n
ELEMENTS OF A CRIME - ACTUS REAS:
Must be Shown that an event was 'caused' by the accused person's conduct
Consists of:
Conduct - accused applied force to the victim
Circumstances - force was applied without the consensus of the victim
Consequences - the force caused bodily harm
MENS REAS - THE MENTAL ELEMENT
The "Guilty Mind"
To be convicted of a criminal offence, it must be proven that the accused carrie
d out the act intentionally, knowingly and willingly
OBJECTIVE MENS REA
Persons should be convicted if a reasonable person would have appreciated the ri
sk involved and avoided the act
includes cases such as recklessnes or negliegence
Not used for serious crime such as murder that require proof of subjective mens
rea
SUBJECTIVE MENS REA
Accused should not be convicted unless:
They deliberetly inteded the consequences
They subjectively realized these consequences might occur
They were willfully blind to the consequences
MENS REA AND REGULATORY OFFENCES
most regulatory offences are considered strict liability offences
No need for crown to prove intent. The commision of the act is sufficient for co
nviction
One can be convicted of a criminal offence if:
One commits it
Aids or abets
Counsels the commision of an offence
INCHOATE CRIMES - PREVENTIVE USE OF THE CRIMINAL LAW
is a criminal offence commited when an accused seeks to bring about commisions o
f a particular crime but is not successful in doing so?
PENALTIES FOR CRIMINAL OFFENCES:
Summary Offences:
Minor Cases heard in provincial or territorial courts
Can result in fine up to $2000 and/or 6 months in jail
Indictable Offences