14 February 2011:
1. Do the Crown Attorney assigned to a particular criminal case and the defence counsel
on the same case have equivalent (but obviously opposing) roles in deciding how to
approach a particular case?
Yes. Both the victim and the offender are individuals regardless, and both deserve to
be defended in somewhat equivalent way. Edward Greenspan that everyone has the
right to be arbitrarily judged. As a defence counsellor, their job is to defend the
person and not judge them and try to get the best verdict for them. Similarly the
crown attorney has the same objectives
People may have a negative connotation around defending a “guilty “person, but as
Greenspan mentioned, guilty is a legal term, and a defence counsellor has the
responsibility to defend the individual until proven guilty. This is similar for a crown
attorney,... they support the individual himself.
The difference might be the angle at which either side may take to defend their case.
A crown will argue the nuisance cause to the victim, while the defence will plead the
innocence or lack of guiltiness in the accused. From a different perspective as
Greenspan suggested, the accused is himself a victim... but a victim of the
machinery of the state, a the defence counsellor protects him from that.
2. Two quite different approaches to the sentencing of offenders might be described as
follows: (a) a primary focus on the offence, so that sentences would be (more or less)
proportional to the seriousness of the offence, and (b) a focus not only on the offence, but
on the ‘character’ of the offender, taking into account, as Edward Greenspan suggested,
the ‘good things’ that a person has done in his or her life. Discuss the advantages and
disadvantages of these two approaches. In particular, you might want to think about
how these two approaches accomplish the various purposes and principles of sentencing
(which will be discussed later in the course).
Approach a) this can help bring more uniformity to the sentencing process, since it
would be based on the offence itself... and if the judges all had to focus on the offence
first we would have much variation on sentencing, since similar offence would have
similar sentences. Also this goes along with the principle of sentencing which
suggests that the sentence should be proportional to the offence. A focus on the
offence be more effective on deterrence
Approach b) we have to keep in mind that often criminal acts that happen, are out
of character for the offender, so maybe taking into consideration the circumstances
and the character of the individual could help get more out of sentencing. Since one
of the principles of sentencing suggest that the mitigating factors and aggravating
factors should be taking into account when handing down a sentence, the character
of an individual can serve as on the them. Also depending on who the accused are,
we can make the sentence more efficient sentencing looks to promote a sense of