Course Title: Criminal law
Part B: Course Detail
Teaching Period: Term2 2015
Course Code: LAW5194
Course Title: Criminal law
School: 650T Vocational Business Education
Campus: City Campus
Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice
Course Contact : Doug Cole
Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5424
Course Contact Email:email@example.com
Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff
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.
Week beginning (subject to variation)
|Week 1 – 6 Jul||The concept of crime, classification of crimes, aims of punishment, “actus reus” and “mens rea”, onus and standard of proof, criminal procedure, sentencing, appeals, bail|
|Week 3 – 20 Jul||The elements of murder, defences to murder, manslaughter and other unlawful killing|
|Week 5 – 3 Aug||Short answer, multiple choice test (30%)|
|Week 7 – 17 Aug||Assault and related offences, sexual offences, theft and other property offences|
|Mid semester break (student vacation) 31 Aug to 6 Sep|
|Week 9 – 7 Sep||Pre-seen case study test (30%)|
|Week 11 - 21 Sep||Attempts, participants in crime, general defences|
|Week 13 – 8 Oct||Practical placement|
|Week 15 – 19 Oct||Mental impairment and related mental states, mistake offences of absolute ir strict liability|
|Week 16 – 26 Oct||Final Test Open Book (40%|
There is no prescribed text for this course. Students will be provided with information regarding required 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
Thalia, A. and others, Waller and Williams. Criminal Law Text and Cases, LexisNexis Butterworths.
Crofts, P. Criminal Law Elements, LexisNexis Butterworths
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)
Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act1997
Criminal Procedure Act2009
Family Violence Protection Act 2008
Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010
Summary Offences Act1966
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.
To pass this course you need to demonstrate you are competent to the industry standard as required of a paralegal. To achieve this, you must complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. You will be assessed against your skills and knowledge and will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you whether you have performed to industry standard or not and how well you are performing.
Assessment Task 1 - Short answer / multiple choice test (closed book) 30%
Due Date: Week 5 - In Class
This will be an in class test which will assess your ability to:
- Analyse, assess and define the concept of crime and analyse the purposes of criminal law in society;
- Outline the pre-trial and trial procedures in a criminal matter and discuss the possible penalties for a criminal offence; and
- Analyse the key elements of the homicide offences and assess the available defences to such prosecutions
Assessment Task 2 – Pre seen case study assessment - 30%
Due Date: Week 9 - In Class
Purpose and requirements: This take home case study assessment will assess your ability to analyse the key elements of the homicide offences and assess the available defences to such prosecutions
Assessment Task 3 - Final test (open book) 40%
Due Date: Week 16 - In Class:
Purpose and Requirements: This will be an in class test which will assess your ability to:
- Analyse the key elements of the homicide offences and assess the available defences to such prosecutions;
- Determine and assess the elements of offences against the person other than homicide;
- Evaluate and assess the available defences to particular offences;
- Analyse the law relating to the types of participation in crime and attempts;
- Analyse and evaluate the various elements to the criminal offence of theft, and discuss the available statutory defences;
- 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;
- Analyse and assess the key elements required for strict and absolute liability offences
Grades received throughout semester are only indicative of your performance. These grades will only contribute to your final grade if you complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN. If students fail to submit one or more pieces of assessment, the maximum grade available is DNS. Please refer to the Final Grades table below:
80-100 HD High Distinction
70-79 DI Distinction
60-69 CR Credit
50-59 PA Pass
0-49 NN Fail
DNS DNS Did Not Submit for assessment
|Learning outcome||Assessment Task 1||Assessment Task 2||Assessment Task 3|
|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|
- Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date
- 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 declaratio 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 a footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment, unit code and title and page numbers.
Late Submission Procedures
If you are prevented from submitting an assessment on time, by circumstances outside your control, you must apply in advance for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.
More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/students/assessment/extension
Form to use:http://mams.rmit.edu.au/seca86tti4g4z.pdf
Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination.
Form to use:http://mams.rmit.edu.au/8a5dgcaqvaes1.pdf
Students who achieve an indicative grade of greater than 50%, yet have not demonstrated competency across all learning outcomes will be given the opportunity to undertake an oral questioning with the assessor in which they will be required to demonstrate competence in the elements or learning outcomes not yet demonstrated. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN.
Adjustments to Assessment
In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment. For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:
Course Overview: Access Course Overview