Course Title: Criminal law
Part B: Course Detail
Teaching Period: Term2 2013
Course Code: LAW5194
Course Title: Criminal law
School: 650T TAFE Business
Campus: City Campus
Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice
Course Contact : Doug Cole
Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5424
Course Contact Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff
Course Contact Phone +61 3 9925 5424
Course Contact Email email@example.com
Location SAB 445 Swanston St, Melbourne, Building 80, Level 5
Nominal Hours: 51
Pre-requisites and Co-requisites
Pre-requisites: VU20111 Legal Process
The purpose of this module is to provide detailed examination and analysis skills of criminal law as might be relevant to a person working in a legal office, for a legal aid provider or government department or in a criminal justice context and incorporates a study of criminal procedure, substantive aspects of criminal offences as defined in legislation and at common law and evaluation of law reform issues.
National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria
National Element Code & Title:
VU20118 Criminal law
Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:
Learning Outcome 1 - Analyse, assess and define the concept of crime and analyse the purposes of criminal law in society.
1.1 Define the concept of crime.
1.2 Compare and contrast the sources of criminal law, using relevant case material.
1.3 Analyse and define the concepts of ‘mens rea’ and ‘actus reus’.
1.4 Assess and outline the particular purposes of criminal law, with specific reference to retribution, deterrence, reformation and rehabilitation and certainty.
Learning Outcome 2 - Outline the pre-trial and trial procedures in a criminal matter and discuss the possible penalties for a criminal offence.
2.1 Analyse and illustrate diagrammatically the preliminary and trial procedures in Victoria with particular reference to:
• summary offences, indictable offences and indictable offences triable summarily
• the Victorian court hierarchy in the criminal justice system
• the mention system
• the committal process
• the procedure in relation to a jury trial
• the procedure in the Magistrates’ Court following a not guilty plea
2.2 Define the concept of ‘bail’, the process of a bail application, and the conditions under which bail may be granted according to the Bail Act 1977 (Vic).
2.3 Analyse, and illustrate diagrammatically, the sentencing procedures followed in the Victorian criminal justice system, using relevant cases examples and with reference to:
• the sentencing hearing
• intellectually disabled offenders
• victim impact statements
2.4 Evaluate the various penalties available for particular criminal offences.
2.5 Examine reforms to evidence and criminal procedure in Victoria with reference to:
• Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic)
• Evidence Act 2008 (Vic)
2.6 Analyse Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) with reference to criminal law issues.
Learning Outcome 3 - Analyse the key elements of the criminal offences of murder and manslaughter, and assess the available defences to such prosecutions.
3.1 Define and analyse the concept of ‘homicide’, making reference to:
• who may be the victim of homicide
• child destruction
• murder, manslaughter and culpable driving
• concealment of birth
• the meaning of ‘death’
3.2 Distinguish homicides which are defined in legislation from those defined at common law.
3.3 Analyse and define the specific elements of the criminal offence of murder.
3.4 Apply the analysis in 3.3 to a given case study and determine whether the offence of murder is substantiated.
3.5 Assess the elements that constitute the offence of manslaughter.
3.6 Apply the analysis in 3.5 to a given case study and determine whether the offence of manslaughter is substantiated.
3.7 Assess current issues in the context of homicide, including the controversy in relation to euthanasia.
3.8 Access changes to abortion laws in Victoria with reference to Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 (Vic)
Learning Outcome 4 - Determine and assess the elements of offences against the person other than homicide.
4.1 Demonstrate the key elements of criminal assault and other offences involving violence.
4.2 Apply the elements in 4.1 to a given case study and determine whether an ‘assault’ has been substantiated.
4.3 Assess current issues in offences against the person including domestic violence, assistance for victims of crime and stalking
4.4 Determine the key elements that comprise sexual offences.
4.5 Apply the elements in 4.4 to a given case study and determine whether a ‘sexual offence’ has been substantiated.
4.6 Examine current issues in the context of sexual offences including inter alia sentencing practice for rape offences, jury direction in rape cases and refer to the sexual history of the complainant.
Learning Outcome 5 - Evaluate and assess the available defences to particular offences.
5.1 Define the concept of ‘defensive homicide’ on a charge of murder and determine the circumstances under which defensive homicide is available as a defence.
5.2 Define the concept of ‘self-defence’ and determine the circumstances under which self defence may be applied.
5.3 Assess the defences of duress, marital coercion, sudden or extraordinary emergency, superior orders and necessity with reference to availability, elements, particular issues in relation to the offence of murder, relevant cases and Crimes (Homicide) Act 2005.
5.4 Analyse the circumstances in which impaired or altered mental states may negate criminal responsibility.
5.5 Determine the application of selected defences to case studies.
Learning Outcome 6 - Analyse the law relating to the types of participation in crime and attempts.
6.1 Analyse the culpability of the participants in a given crime, using relevant culpability case examples.
6.2 Analyse and assess the concept of ‘attempt’ in criminal law, with reference to actus reus, voluntary desistance, mens rea, legal and factual impossibility and the statutory provisions.
Learning Outcome 7 - Analyse and evaluate the various elements to the criminal offence of theft, and discuss the available statutory defences.
7.1 Examine the historical background to the law of theft including larceny at common law and the reasons behind the introduction of the theft provisions of the Crimes Act.
7.2 Analyse and define ‘property’ as stipulated by the Crimes Act.
7.3 Assess and evaluate the concept of ‘belonging to another’ as stipulated by the Crimes Act
7.4 Analyse and evaluate the concept of ‘appropriates’ as defined by the Crimes Act, using relevant case examples.
7.5 Analyse and assess the concept of ‘intention of permanently depriving’ as defined by the Crimes Act, using specific case examples and including the presumption in relation to motor vehicles and aircraft.
7.6 Analyse the concept of appropriation of property ‘dishonestly’ as defined by the Crimes Act, using specific case examples with reference to claim of right, consent, unknown owner and willingness to pay.
7.7 Analyse the applications of theft provisions to case study materials
Learning Outcome 8 - Determine the elements of the crimes of obtaining property by deception, obtaining a financial advantage by deception robbery, burglary and blackmail as defined by the Crimes Act
8.1 Define the following criminal offences, S 81 obtaining property by deception and S 82 obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
8.2 Analyse the criminal offences of robbery, burglary and blackmail, with reference to S 75, 75 A robbery and armed robbery, S 76, 77 burglary and aggravated burglary and S 87 blackmail.
8.3 Analyse applications of sections of the Crimes Act given in 8.1 and 8.2 to case study material.
Learning Outcome 9 - Analyse and assess the key elements required for strict and absolute liability offences.
9.1 Distinguish between "mens rea offences, strict liability offences and offences of absolute liability and examine criteria for making the distinction
9.2 Examine the rationale for offences of strict or absolute liability and provide relevant examples of statutory provisions creating strict or absolute liability offences.
9.3 Examine the operation of the defence of mistake in relation to strict liability offences including the distinction between a mistake of fact and a mistake of law the onus of proof in relation to mistake.
9.4 Analyse strict and absolute liability offences with reference to case study material..
Details of Learning Activities
Students will study Criminal Law skills and theory in class sessions and through prescribed exercises and assessment work. These concepts will also be explored through the investigation of appropriate real world and simulated environments.Classes of 3 hours per week for 16 weeks as per the teaching schedule. The nominal hours associated with this are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete the course. This may include not only scheduled classes but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.
The week by week classes as per the teaching schedule below and assessments, including due dates, are subject to variation. Class teachers will to keep as close as practicable to that set out in this Part B Statement.
Course requirements: students consult timetable and are expected to attend all scheduled classes
Course support documents: see RMIT Blackboard
Student Induction: conducted prior to commencement of classes or during the first class and will cover the following: Blackboard, Overview of assessment requirements including Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers, Grading, Plagiarism, Appeals,Extensions,Feedback,Privacy, Submission requirements, Resubmission policy, Where to get support, Student responsibilities
Week beginning (subject to variation)
|dATE WEEK BEGINS||Topics||Assessment|
|08 JUly||Introduction - orientation week|
|Week 2||15||The concept of crime, classification of crimes, aims of punishment, “actus reus” and “mens rea”, onus and standard of proof|
|Week 3||22||Criminal procedure, sentencing, appeals, bail|
|Week 4||29||The elements of murder|
|Week 5||05 August||Defences to murder|
|Week 6||12||Manslaughter and other unlawful killing|
|Week 7||19||Assault and related offences|
|Week 8||26||Sexual offences||Short answer, multiple choice test (30%)|
|Mid Semester Break|
|Week 9||09 September||Theft|
|Week 10||16||Other property offences|
|Week 11||23||Attempts, participants in crime||Pre-seen case study test (30%)|
|Week 12||30||General defences|
|Week 13||07 October||Mental impairment and related mental states|
|Week 14||14||Mistake, offences of strict or absolute liability|
|Week 16||28||Test||Final Test Open Book (40%)|
There is no prescribed text for this course. Students will be provided with information regarding reqired reading.
Clough,J. and Mulhern,N. Criminal Law (Butterworth's Tutorial Series), Butterworths.
Fisse, B. Howard’s Criminal Law LBC
Fox, R. Victorian Criminal Procedure. Monash Law Book Co-operative Co., Melbourne
Gillies, P. Criminal Law. LBC
Hazlehurst, K.M. Crime and Justice: An Australian Textbook in Criminology. LBC
Heilpern, D. and Yeo, S. Cases on Criminal Law. LBC.
Jacobs, J. Butterworths’ Student Companions - Criminal Law Butterworths.
Nash, Annotated Criminal Legislation Victoria, Butterworths.
Rush PD and Yeo SMH Criminal Law Sourcebook
Waller L, Williams C. R. (eds), Waller and Williams. Criminal Law Text and Cases, Butterworths.
Cole, D Criminal Law Learner’s Resource, Australian Training Products, Melbourne
Australasian Legal Information Institute (www.austlii.edu.au)
CCH Online (www.cch.com.au)
LexisNexis Butterworths Online (www.butterworthsonline.com)
Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents (www.legislation.vic.gov.au)
Bail Act 1977
Crimes Act 1958
Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997
Criminal Procedure Act 2009
County Court Act 1958
Magistrates’ Court Act 1971
Sentencing Act 1991
Summary Offences Act 1958
Overview of Assessment
Assessment methods have been designed to measure achievement of the requirements in a flexible manner over a range of assessment tasks, for example:
• Test/written examination
• case study analysis
• short answers questions
• written assignment
• oral presentations
• project (s)
Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met.
1. Closed book test 30%
2. Open book test 30%
3. Open book test 40%
Description of Assessments
Students must demonstrate an understanding of all elements of competency to be deemed competent.
A range of assessment methods may be used to assess practical skills and knowledge, for example:
* tests and examinations in formal settings
* assignments, projects and case study analysis
* direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence
* review of authenticated documents from the workplace or training environment
* demonstration of techniques
* Class presentation
HD High Distinction 80-100
DI Distinction 70-79
CR Credit 60-69
PA Pass 50-59
NN Pass 0-49
Critical aspects of assessment
Evidence of the following is essential:
• Knowledge of Criminal Law relating to criminal procedures,
substantive aspects of criminal offences as defined in
legislation, and law reforms
• Explaining the concept of crime and criminal law in society
• Investigating criminal procedures and the possible penalties
for a criminal offence
• Analysing elements of criminal offences of manslaughter
• Assessing the available defences to particular offences
• Analysing the key elements required for strict and absolute
Assessment completion requirements
You are required to complete 3 assessment tasks.
To pass this course students must attempt assessments as required which are graded upon submission by the class assessor.
Grading is weighted so that a mark of 50% is a passing grade.
Assessment submission requirements
Assessment tasks need to be submitted via turnitin on Blackboard unless otherwise advised.
* Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date. If your performance in the assessment is affected by unexpected circumstances, you should consider applying for Special Consideration. Information on the process and application forms is available at http://rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=ls0ydfokry9rz website.
* Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks. (hard copy and soft copy)
* When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on blackboard.
* Each page of your assessment should include footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment, unit code and title and page numbers. For example, Julie Macpherson, 324567, Task 2, OHS2345C Ensure safe workplace, Page 1 of 10.
|Learning outcome||Written Test 1 30%||Written Test 2 30%||Written Test 3 40%|
|Analyse, assess and define the concept of crime and analyse the purposes of criminal law in society||X|
|Outline the pre-trial and trial procedures in a criminal matter and discuss the possible penalties for a criminal offence||X|
|Analyse the key elements of the homicide offences and assess the available defences to such prosecutions||X||X||X|
|Determine and assess the elements of offences against the person other than homicide||X|
|Evaluate and assess the available defences to particular offences||X|
|Analyse the law relating to the types of participation in crime and attempts||X|
|Analyse and evaluate the various elements to the criminal offence of theft, and discuss the available statutory defences||X|
|Determine the elements of the crimes of obtaining property by deception, obtaining a financial advantage by deception robbery, burglary and blackmail as defined by the Crimes Act||X|
|Analyse and assess the key elements required for strict and absolute liability offences||X|
Course Overview: Access Course Overview