Introduction

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Introduction

Post  Chris on Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:11 am

Hi all,

Just a quick intro. This is the area to debate a subject which prompts a lot of discussion but is all too often misunderstood or misrepresented.

I'm not certain about the "expert" tag so may well look into changing that! Very Happy but I do have a lot of experience sitting in most of the chairs that are occupied by the players in the criminal justice system.


Ask away and we'll see where we end up! cheers
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Re: Introduction

Post  Jamie Wadman on Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:57 am

hey mate i know not an in-deph question but just something i was wondering:

remember a month or 2 back when a couple guys on bikes tried to rob a jewellrey (spelt wrong) shop
and an elderly lady ran over and started to hit them with her handbag and one of the guys fell off his bike?
want to know what would happen if those guys decided to press charges against the old woman?

sorry not the most thought provoking question mate Cool
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Re: Introduction

Post  Mr Nobody on Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:07 pm

I know I don't live in the UK so can't speak for their legal system. But there's no way the old lady would be charged with anything if that same incident, as it happened in the UK, happened in NZ.

The Police decide who gets charged and there is no way that they would charge the old lady. It could be easily argued that she was acting under a number of Sections of our Crimes Act in order to prevent the loss or damage of property or preventing a breach of the peace.

As our system is based on the UK one, there maybe similarities between the two countries laws but I'll let Chris explain as he is the expert....despite what he thinks of the term!

Smile
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Re: Introduction

Post  Chris on Mon May 02, 2011 2:49 am

Hi Jamie, thanks for setting the ball rolling in this new area.

It's not a daft question at all mate, it's a very pertinent one for those who are wondering where they stand if they intercede in an event.

I'll write a longer response over the next few days but the short answer is that an individual is allowed to act in the defense of

themselves
their property
others
others property.

You need to be acting in self defense as per the usual requirements of the criminal justice system but you ARE allowed to act to protect and defend property. Those actions just need to be reasonable. In this instance Granny had nothing to worry about. Ten lads with a rope looking to string the thieves up from lamposts would have a far harder time justifying their actions.

Also, don't forget that within the criminal justice system the police and CPS are the two parties who decide if criminal charges will be laid (depending on the charge) it's not a decision for the participants in the alleged crime.
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Re: Introduction

Post  Wayne Harrison on Tue May 31, 2011 2:48 pm

True, using the law on self defence will invariably mean a person has to account for their actions. Either to the police (CPS), or courts. In doing so, it must be shown that action was proportionate to the continued threat. Bearing in mind, the actual threat in any conflict can change rapidly. So what was acceptable one moment, may not be in another. In the case of the granny. In a Robbery event, which by it's definition includes violence of some kind (physical, verbal, etc), the risk a granny swinging a handbag (irrespective of how brave she was) at criminals that would in fact injure criminals in low risk.

However, if the same granny pulled out a gun, or a machete, and promptly began to attack the armed robbers (who were in fact not targeting her), and she inflicted injuries on them, then this is more toward the lines of it being vigilantism. Of a kind which cannot be seen to go unchecked by law.

It's worth bearing in mind also, that UK law on self defence will take two things into account (pre-court). It has to ascertained as to what is in the public interest. Whilst self defence is permitted, being a vigilante isn't. There's sometimes a fine line, and that line is very grey.

warmest wishes
Wayne
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Re: Introduction

Post  Chris on Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:17 am

Public interest will not come into play when deciding whether someone will face a criminal charge or not.

The police will gather evidence. The CPS/Police will determine if the constituent parts of the alleged criminal activity are in place and then a case will be presented at court.

Public interest is a polical decision and MAY influence the legislation that the government passes but it doesn't form part of the criminal justice system at the sharp end.
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Re: Introduction

Post  Wayne Harrison on Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:35 am

Chris wrote:Public interest will not come into play when deciding whether someone will face a criminal charge or not.

The police will gather evidence. The CPS/Police will determine if the constituent parts of the alleged criminal activity are in place and then a case will be presented at court.

Public interest is a polical decision and MAY influence the legislation that the government passes but it doesn't form part of the criminal justice system at the sharp end.

Hi Chris,
I accept what you're saying. I got my view from the CPS website, is this not actual practice then?

when reviewing cases involving assertions of self-defence or action in the prevention of crime/preservation of property, prosecutors should be aware of the balance to be struck:

the public interest in promoting a responsible contribution on the part of citizens in preserving law and order; and
in discouraging vigilantism and the use of violence generally.

Source: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/self_defence/


warmest wishes
Wayne
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Re: Introduction

Post  Chris on Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:11 pm

Wayne,

Self defence is an absolute defence and a matter of evidence. Public interest makes no difference to the legality of the action.

In real terms the CPS only concern themselves with whether the component parts of the legal offence are present and how strong the evidence is. Nothing else enters into the equation. It's a numbers game.

Regards
Chris
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Re: Introduction

Post  mikg on Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:53 am

public interest is a factor in every prosecution that the cps decide to bring. its mainly mentioned however when the cps decide not to bring a prosecution for example old people in care homes often assault staff but its not in the public interest to prosecute. its not law but is a policy decusion.

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Re: Introduction

Post  Chris on Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:39 am

Mik,

Public Interest is not actually a factor in the decision making process which is why I said it isn't really a factor at all.

Public interest is an intangible, unquantifiable concept that is inherently linked with the political mood of the political landscape that holds sway at the time. It is impossible to actually apply it as a component of the decision making process so it becomes nothing more than a tag-line for the public face of the CPS.

As you say, public interest is often used as a "get out" clause for those cases where the elements of a criminal act are in place but the CPS take a political decision not to further the case. It has no bearing no whether they bring the case or not, just gives them an excuse for not doing so when the decision has already been made.

In short, public interest is a nice piece of pixie dust nonsense that the CPS can use for its own benefit.
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Re: Introduction

Post  RichardZ on Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:27 pm

Chris,

What to you think about the saying;

"Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6"?

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Re: Introduction

Post  David Turton on Tue May 01, 2012 3:09 am

if I can jump in here Chris

its a truism that goes back roughly 150 years as a statement, and is correct.
however the Caveat is that this intimates that ONLY ending up in the dock is your only choice in a real situation, when of course it isnt.
however generally it holds true.

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Re: Introduction

Post  Chris on Tue May 01, 2012 9:22 am

Jump in anytime Dave, specially when you're hitting nails squarely on the head! Very Happy

As a soundbite it works but it doesn't really bear up under examination.

I MAY personally use it in a specific context to highlight that being asked to justify action from a legal standpoint is preferrable to being dead or permanently injured but that is as far as it goes. Surface level and as deep as a puddle.

I actually dislike the highjacking of the statement as a means of trying to justify illegal activity or even worse as an excuse for failure to think at all before acting. It sounds cool and hip but in reality it is an excuse for a failure to apply logic and reason and all to often adopted as a reason for acting illegally.

Let's take a quick look here.

- Plenty of options available to an individual that don't preclude being subject to legal repercussions.
- plenty of criminal proceedings which wont see an individual placed in front of a jury of 12
-It encourages a negative mentality (usually promoted by those who have knowingly acted illegally) that the criminal justice system is the enemy of any right thinking man who acts in self defence. Nonsense, the criminal justice system is your best friend in those circumstances if you think beyond the surface level.
- Plenty of instances where you can be guilty of a crime without either party facing or using lethal force.
- Fails to give any useful guidance on how to remain "legal" in your actions and how to conduct yourself legally in a self defence/protection situation.

I could go on and on but on the whole I'm not a fan of glib cliches, except when I am using them!! Very Happy
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Re: Introduction

Post  RichardZ on Tue May 01, 2012 10:48 am

I would think judged/trial by 12 could have it end in incarceration which could be worse than death. And in jail, there is a chance of getting killed

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Re: Introduction

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