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Essay Evidence/Arguments: Crime (Part 2)
« on: July 23, 2015, 02:52:50 pm »
Hello everyone! Welcome to Part 2 of this guide series, focused on arming you with the evidence you need for your Legal Trial and HSC essays, and some ways you could use it. The first half focused on legislation; this half will focus on cases, and putting everything together into a nice argument. Be sure to let me know if a more structured, generic essay guide is something of interest!

As always, remember to register for an account and ask any questions you have below! It takes no time at all, and is an awesome chance to pick the brains of your peers.

So, cases. I’m basically just going to do a list. I’ll detail what happened, go into legal significance, and how you could use the case in an argument(s). You should supplement this list with more contemporary examples, but even just knowing this list would well equip you to supplement pretty much any essay response! Mix of circumstances, mixed level of detail… It’s a good mix of stuff. I’ll provide only the basic details which I think are necessary for the case to be used properly in an essay.

R v Singh (2012)

This was a manslaughter case involving domestic violence. The offender killed his wife (in a very vicious manner) after he was threatened with deportation. He successfully utilised the defence of provocation , was found guilty of manslaughter, and imprisoned.

This case is controversial and worthy of discussion in an essay for several reasons. For one, the provocation defence utilised, which essentially states that the offenders actions were partially justified. On one side, you can say that this evidences the flexibility of the judicial system, and its ability to account for a variety of circumstances (can work for a variety of arguments). On the other side, and perhaps a little easier to argue, you can use this case to evidence the flawed nature of such defences. A man brutally killed his wife; how can any provocation justify that?

Very deep case, lots of room to bend the argument how you please.

R v Hickey (1995)

Another case with a defence, this one with historical significance. This was the first successful use of Battered Woman’s Syndrome as a partial defence, very similar to provocation. This is more of a case to mention in support of another argument, rather than as the focus of one. Besides the defence used, not really much to discuss here.

R v Loveridge (2013)

This is an infamous case with a background which may be less known. Good chance to mention, always refer to cases properly where possible, never by their popular name. A “king hit,” resulted in the death of the victim. The offender was imprisoned, charged with manslaughter.

Two avenues of discussion here. One; this was the case which spurred the big mandatory sentencing debate in regard to king hits. Mandatory sentencing is a cool thing to mention in a crime essay; its the subject of massive controversy. For one, guaranteeing punishments can act as a deterrent and improve community safety. However, it massively impedes on individual rights to justice. If you are talking about this AT ALL, mention this case.

Second, plea bargaining. This is another cool thing to mention; basically it is where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to one thing in exchange for another charge being dropped. In this case, the defender pleaded guilty to manslaughter instead of trying to fight a murder charge. Plea bargaining is viewed negatively for many reasons; it renders the trial process and jury useless, impedes on justice, can inspire corruption, etc. You can argue that the defendant may feel pressured to conduct a plea bargain. But it does have administrative advantages. Again, lots of room to move with how this case can be used, but any argument about plea bargaining would benefit from this in some regard.

R v Franklin (2009)

This is a good case to include when discussing mitigating factors. The offender was charged with kidnap and sexual assault, but his prison term was lessened based on factors of intoxication and psychological illness. Again, argue this either way. The mitigating factors are essential in guaranteeing a just sentencing process tailored to the individual crime. However, they may be viewed as restrictive to the rights of the victim. A very flexible piece of evidence which you can use to simply give an example of mitigating factors.

R v Taber (2002)

This fulfils the exact same function for aggravating factors. The offender was found guilty of murder, with aggravating factors including an elderly victim and lack of remorse. However, this case was also appealed by the defendant (Taber v R (2003)) and the charge was changed to manslaughter. This is a nice thing to bring up when discussing the review process in Australia, either for or against, simply argue it how you please.

Dietrich v Queen (1992)

This is one of those historically significant cases that will get you big brownie points if you mention it. This is the case which first established the right to adequate legal representation in court. So, arguably, it spurred the formation of the NSW Legal Aid Commission, and whole idea of Legal Aid in the first place. A very nice case to briefly mention in a crime essay of any kind which talks about the Trial process, and particularly, how it balances the rights of offender and state.

R v Abraham (2013)

A nice contemporary murder case, the infamous Kiesha Abrahams case. The offender received over 15 years in jail. I used this in an essay, arguing that even in these horrific, well documented circumstances (insert media article here), the maximum penalty was not utilised. Essentially, I argued that the maximum penalties are pointless because they are never used by judges, who are reluctant to be punished by a appellate process which rewards the offender far too often. This is an example of how a simple case can be bent to suit your argument, borrow it if you like.

Andrea Patrick Case (1993)

The identity of the offender in this case was not disclosed, hence the colloquial name. It is a common inclusion for the Family Law elective, so the markers know about it, no worries. Essentially, the victim was murdered despite a violence order being placed against the offender. A nice inclusion for any essay arguing that victims are not adequately protected. More suited for Family Law essays on domestic violence, but I used it in Crime Essays a lot, particularly in arguing the ineffectiveness of the investigation process. It’s hard to find cases in this area, and this one suits nicely.

Between these 8 cases, you can cover any aspect of trial and sentencing, and even address some things about the investigation process. It’s a nice set of easy to remember cases which, supplemented with another one or two of your own, will form a well rounded bank of evidence for your essays. But how do you combine this with the rest of your evidence to form a solid argument? Well, without writing an essay guide, there are three steps:

1- What is the argument you want to make? You should have a few of these ready to go in the exam, for any area of Crime (same for electives). They will be your opening sentence, for example: “While the best of intentions are present, law reform has ultimately rendered Australia’s legal system incapable of consistently protecting the rights of victims in criminal situations.”

2- Figure out what you have to show, and select your evidence. For the argument above, you would be looking for evidence of changes which limit the rights of the victim in criminal cases. This could be cases such as R v Singh (2012), evaluation of laws, etc. You should pick arguments which flow easily from the evidence you have. For example, my evidence bank suited a balanced argument from several directions, which equally addressed victim, offender and community. I have enough to write any essay on any area, but this is where I tailored my preparation. Be mindful of this, and be sure to bend the essay question where you want it to go.

3- Divide your evidence into sections and evaluate each section! This is easiest to do in terms of the syllabus; investigation, trial and sentencing. Easy three paragraph structure. Bring up one piece of evidence at a time, and make sure you make a JUDGEMENT for each piece of evidence. Did the system do good or bad? Why? Be clear and critical in your analysis.

Now, the cases and laws in this two part guide are not the be all and end all of evidence. You can, and should, supplement this with some contemporary articles, perhaps some statistics, and anything else you’ve already worked with in class. However, even just walking in with these cases and laws, I guarantee you’d have at least an adequate amount of evidence to answer any crime question (besides Young Offenders and International Crime, guides for them are on the way!).

So, that’s it! Keep hanging around for more guides on Young Offenders and International Crime, and you'll be super prepared for any essay question! Be sure to register for an account and let me know if there was any questions, or any other way I can be of help. Otherwise, good luck for all your Trials and happy study!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 09:09:52 pm by jamonwindeyer »


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Re: Essay Evidence/Arguments: Crime (Part 2)
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2016, 02:50:49 pm »
thank you so much this helps so so so much !!! much appreciated !