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Evaluation Of Criminal Law: Dishonesty Offences

1105 words - 5 pages

In order to maintain social cohesion, the criminal justice system must be able to adapt, expand and create laws to catch conduct that may have not been an offence in previous generations. This is shown in the repeal of ‘larceny’ and its subsequent ad hoc statutory offences to the replacement of a collection of dishonesty offences, known as ‘theft and its satellites’. This meant the laws were now capable to extend to conduct that neither threatened nor violated property rights, included the dishonest acquisition or imposition of intangible benefits and detriments and encompassed the mere usurpation of rights beyond ‘taking and carrying away .’ This commonality further ...view middle of the document...

There appears to be a serious wrong (committing forgery), a responsible actor (mentally competent David), a criminal act (signing of the document) and a criminal state of mind (fully aware that was not his signature) without justification or excuse. Furthermore, this offence further satisfies the model, as it places utmost importance on the intention of the individual, as it is assumed that ‘individuals have the capacity and sufficient free will and individual autonomy to make meaningful choices.’ Additionally, there is further argument that the offence merely duplicates deception and as such is unnecessary. However, this instigates the fundamental principle of fair labelling, as it ‘would be clearly unfair to an offender for their criminal record to misrepresent their wrongdoing’. Arguably, this offence extends to conduct merely preparatory to the offence of deception; it is not required to prove that the defendant attempted or obtained a benefit or detriment, mere possession of incriminating false documents is sufficient. Fair labelling is especially important in the fairness of the offender and prospective employers, in that ‘an offence name has a symbolic function’ and this offence attempts to preserve ‘the authenticity of documentation.’ This means the prospective employer can discern the person from being entirely dishonest to merely dishonesty when dealing with documents, as such it ‘clarifies the nature of the offence in clear and concise matter so employers can make informed decisions.’ Thus, it appears that dishonest dealing with documents is a justified creation of an offence that satisfies fundamental principles of criminal justice.

Dishonest manipulation of machines
This offence held no previous counter-part in existing law as it aims to respond to the increasing range of goods and services dispensed by machines. The offence extends to incorporate conduct involving non-proprietary interests and the subversion and manipulation of machines rather than the machine itself being ‘deceived.’ The physical element of ‘dealing’ either by ‘manipulation of a machine’ or ‘taking advantage of a malfunction of a machine’ and the fault element of ‘intention to deal’ to either ‘obtain a benefit or cause a detriment to self or another’ needs to be satisfied. It is questionable whether this offence satisfies the harm principle, in that ‘conduct should not be criminalised unless it is harmful to others’. The purpose of the offence is to prevent an offender from engaging in conduct that gains an illegitimate advantage against others. This...

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