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An overview of the offence and whether this is applicable based on the facts

Criminal Law Assessment One Case Study Guidance

Instructions:

You are a criminal barrister for SBS Court.

You are instructed to advance written advice for your client Carolina Seville.

Advise Carolina Seville in writing, in respect of the following:

  • An overview of the offence and whether this is applicable based on the facts. (20 Marks)
  • Your best advice as to what plea she should advance based on the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and the chances of such plea being accepted by the court. (20 Marks)
  • An explanation of the likely sentence starting point and range, applying, and drawing from the sentencing guidelines. (20 marks)
  • Addressing and discussing any aggravating or mitigating factors. (20 Marks)
  • Discuss any other relevant sentencing steps and advise your client on the likely sentence after any further reductions. (20 Marks)

NB: Within your answer you will need to draw from and apply the following:

  • Relevant case law
  • Support each point advanced using OSCOLA
  • You may use subheadings
  • Note that the audience will be familiar with the law at hand thus avoid merely describing and focus on the application of the law to the facts at hand.

Further Guidance

1. An overview of the offence and whether this is applicable based on the facts. (20 Marks)

  • A brief introduction and basic overview of the key facts 
  • What are you going to do and how?
  • Explain the substantive law and discuss whether this applies. E.g. what are the actus reus and mens rea elements and does your client satisfy them? Include key case law in your answer

2. Your best advice as to what plea she should advance based on the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and the chances of such plea being accepted by the court. (20 Marks)

  • Analyse the case against the Defendant drawing from the evidence presented.
  • Strengths? What evidence is their against your client?
  • Weaknesses? Is any of the evidence in your clients favour?
  • Conclude - strong case against your client?
  • Based on the above how will you advise your client to plead?
  • Guilty –  what is the benefit and purpose of a guilty plea? Should she be encouraged to plead guilty at the first instance? 
  • Not Guilty - Which court will be allocated? Advantages and disadvantages attached to running a trial. ie; acquittal rate?

 3. An explanation of the likely sentence starting point and range, applying, and drawing from the sentencing guidelines. (20 marks)

Sentence

  • Students should use the relevant sentencing guidelines and state the maximum and minimum sentence. Students should arrive at a category by picking out the applicable culpability and harm factors and conducting a balancing exercise.
  • Students may decide on any category provided they justify their choice effectively.
  • Students should then indicate the category starting point and range.

4. Addressing and discussing any aggravating or mitigating factors. (20 Marks)

  • Students should then pick out the specific aggravating and mitigating factors relevant to the case.
  • Explain how these affect the sentence within the category range.

5. Discuss any other relevant sentencing steps and advise your client on the likely sentence after any further reductions. (20 Marks)

  • Reduction for assistance to the prosecution?
  • Reduction for a guilty plea?
  • Consider whether the assessment for dangerousness applies.
  • Totality principle applicable?
  • Consider whether the court may make a compensation and/or ancillary order
  • Explain that a Judge has to provide a reason for sentence
  • Consideration of time spent on bail?
  • Conclude and explain the likely sentence to your client

- Students will be awarded higher marks for locating cases of a similar nature.

- Students must conclude on a specific sentence after applying the above. It does not matter what the sentence is, as long as it is well-justified.


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