LAWS2113 T2 Questions, 2011

1. Sources of Criminal Law, Elements of Criminal Responsibility

1.1. Scenario 1
It is Friday, October 19, 2009, 10:30pm, and the Queensland Law Dinner is in full swing. Gloria, a second year law student, had a few tequila & orange too many, and together with her classmate Joseph walks outside to get a breath of fresh air. They sit down on the grass outside the dinner venue and Joseph, thinking Gloria feels cold, takes his jacket off, puts it on Gloria’s shoulders and his arm around her. Gloria is terrified and mistakenly thinks, Joseph wants to get intimate with her. In her fear she grabs a beer bottle that was left on the grass and smashes it over Joseph’s head, causing a deep and serious wound.
1. What type of offence did Gloria commit in this scenario? Why are these acts regarded criminal; what is the purpose of these types of offences?
2. Where are those offences prescribed? Why there?
3. What are the elements of the offence Gloria could be charged with? What are the key issues that determine whether the charges will result in a conviction?

1.2. Scenario 2
After Joseph is brought to hospital, Gloria had enough of the Law Dinner, and jumps into her car. She is a rather impatient driver and drives 80 kph in a 60 kph zone in suburban Brisbane. Unfortunately for her, the police are on patrol that night, and stop Gloria’s car. As she winds down the window to talk to the police officer, the police notice her bad breath and undertake a breath testing; Gloria has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1%.
1. What type of offence did Gloria commit in this scenario? Why are these acts regarded criminal; what is the purpose of these types of offences?
2. Where are those offences prescribed? Why there?
3. What are the elements of the offence Gloria could be charged with? What are the key issues that determine whether the charges will result in a conviction?

1.3. Scenario 3
Dustin and Ben are members of the Australian Defence Force and are currently on a UN assignment in the Darfur region of Sudan to assist in the protection of refugees and internally displaced people.
On the morning of February 1, 2011, during a routine patrol, they are attacked and killed in an ambush by members of the Janjaweed, a Sudanese militia group. Comrades of Dustin and Ben are able to arrest Umar who carried out the killing and is a low-ranking member of the Janjaweed.
1. What type of offences did Umar commit in this scenario? Why are these acts regarded criminal; what is the purpose of these types of offences?
2. Where are those offences prescribed? Why there?
3. What are the elements of the offences Umar could be charged with? What are the key issues that determine whether the charges will result in a conviction?

2. Mrs Cogdon
Morris, Norval, “Somnambulistic Homicide: Ghosts, Spiders, and North Koreans” (1951) 5(1) Res Judicatae 29-33
Read the case note about Mrs Cogdon by Norval Morris, “Somnambulistic Homicide: Ghosts, Spiders, and North Koreans”.
Consider the following questions:
1. What did Mrs Cogdon physically do?
2. Why did she do what she did?
3. From your point of view, did she want (intend …) to kill Patricia?
4. What do you suggest should be done to Mrs Cogdon? How should the criminal law deal with cases like hers?
5. Would you think any different, if Mrs Cogdon had not gone to sleep, but if she had taken LSD after her daughter went to bed? Imagine her somnambulistic state was only the result of taking the drug. (Cf the case of R v Lipman [1970] 1 QB 152)