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Criminal Liability Classification Of Crimes Notes

BCL Law Notes > Criminal Liability Notes

This is an extract of our Criminal Liability Classification Of Crimes document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Liability Notes collection written by the top tier of University College Dublin students.

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CLASSIFICATION OF CRIMESDetermines a lot so v important

Rights of criminals by constitution:
Article 37 >Judicial powers cannot be exercised outside the courts/ criminal law.
Except for limited functions.

Article 38 >Due course of law
Criminal procedure provides this.

➢ Arraignment: when someone reads your summons and you plead guilty or not guilty
Article 15.5.1 >law cannot apply retrospectively
To protect the rule of law
Law is regarded as supreme, rather than a person
It governs everything
You can't punish someone after the prohibition has come into existence for something they did before that initiation

Felony/ Misdemeanour

Still exists in common law
Abolished by criminal law act In 97
Three-way distinction

1. Treason

2. Felony -
o majority of serious crimes

3. Misdemeanour
Wider powers of arrest for felony compared to misdemeanour - an example of the importance
Larger rules governing liability of accomplices - assisting in commission of a felony
The act replaced the distinction with further distinctions > so felony still exists but it encompasses most serious crimes, and the term is not its own distinct category that has a base in legislation
However, it remains in existence at common law.

Minor/ Non-Minor

Article 38.2 > general rule regarding jury trial in respect of some serious offences
It draws between minor and non-minor > jury in all cases except those of minor offences

Melling Leading authority - also in determination of criminal/ civil.
Dependent onSeverity of punishment
Moral quality of offence

Conroy v AG
What about penalties that are not fine or imprisonment? Suspension of license etc….
Person driving under the influence and disqualified from driving license.
SC:Disqualifications and other incidental consequences not considered when determining whether the offence is minor/ non-minor
Deterrent effect but not a 'primary punishment'
Nor is it intended to be punitive

➢ Distinction between minor and non-minor for penalties: 3,000 fine and 12 months imprisonment

Indictable/ Summary

Indictable - must or can be tired on indictment, meaning jury is present
Greater procedural obligations
Greater procedural protections
Summary is no jury.

How do we decide?There are some only summary/ indictable by positive law
And others that can be either:
Whether DPP or accused agrees to a trial taking place before a DC.

Criminal Justice Public Order Act 1997 s.4:

it shall be an offence for someone to be drunk in public to an extent that'd give rise to a reasonable apprehension that he might endanger himself or another person in vicinity
Guilty….shall be liable on conviction on summary

NFOAPA 1997 s.4

intetionally or recklessly causes serious harm to another
Guilty…shall be liable on conviction on indictment.

Serious/ Non-serious

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