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Evaluate the aims of criminalisation of specific acts and the function of criminal punishment

Unit    Criminal Law Level 4  30 Credits Assignment

You are working for a law firm and have been asked to prepare notes on two potential criminal cases in advance of a meeting to discuss a way forward. You are also asked to produce some introductory information for two new paralegal employees who will be attending the meeting as part of their training. You should explain any legal terminology used.

Task 1 Introductory notes

The introductory information you have been asked to provide is about criminal law, punishment, prosecution and proof. Your notes should:

  • Evaluate the aims of criminalisation of specific acts and the function of criminal punishment. (AC1.1)
  • Analyse the role of public prosecution and criminal standard of proof. (AC1.2)

Task 2

Handley and Franks

Tom Handley was involved in a fight with Jared Mayton after visiting several pubs on Friday evening. Jared was badly beaten and later died from his injuries. The investigations suggest that Handley had been looking for Mayton to ‘pay him back for stealing his girlfriend’. Alfred Franks, Tom’s friend is said to have been encouraging the confrontation.

Both Handley and Franks have been arrested and are facing possible murder charges. Franks is also facing a common assault charge for threatening one of Mayton’s friends who tried to come to his aid. Handley is saying he was too drunk to realise what he was doing and that Mayton threatened him first and he acted in self-defence.

Handley and Franks attempted to leave the scene in Handley’s car with Handley driving (even though he was over the legal limit) but stopped when the car hit and knocked down Handley’s ex-girlfriend as they were driving away. Franks claimed that she had run out into the road to stop Handley leaving and that knocking her over was an accident.

You are required to write notes pertaining to the defence of Handley and Franks. You need to consider the basis for the potential murder charge, and possible defences. In relation to the case, your notes should:

  • Analyse the components of murder. (AC2.1)
  • Illustrate circumstances giving rise to voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. (AC2.2)
  • Assess the nature of non-fatal offences against the person. (AC2.3)
  • Assess the types of inchoate offences. (AC4.1)
  • Explain the meaning of assisting or encouraging crime. (AC4.2)
  • Examine specific and general defences. (AC5.1)
  • Illustrate the application of self-defence rule. (AC5.3

For a Merit grade you must:

  • Assess foresight as a mere evidence of intention. (ACM2.1)
    • Distinguish between accomplices and secondary parties and derivative and inchoate liability. (ACM4.1)

For a Distinction grade you must:

  • Critique the appropriateness of negligence as a form of mens rea. (ACD 2.1)
  • Evaluate deficiencies in existing rules and proposals for reform. (ACD 2.2)
  • Assess the impact of the Convention on Human Rights on defences. (ACD5.1)

Task 3

Bromley and son

Peter Bromley and his twelve-year old son Mark were apprehended apparently breaking into and entering a property. At the time, Peter was standing outside a property and Mark was inside the property having climbed in through a window that had been forced open. Mark was disturbed by the owner and caught trying to escape by the back door after an unsuccessful attempt to threaten the owner into giving up his valuables. As far as the owner is aware, nothing was taken.

Peter was found in possession of a bag of tools which he says he ‘borrowed’ from an unlocked van parked outside the neighbour’s house. Peter also says that he was confused having taken some strong painkillers prescribed for his back earlier in the evening and thought the house was his mother’s house. He claims that having knocked and not had an answer, Mark climbed in through the window, which was already open, to check that she was alright.

Mark has a different story, he says his father forced him to enter the property having forced the window with a crowbar from the bag of tools, with the instruction to steal anything that looked valuable. Mark has learning difficulties and has a mental age lower than his actual age. Peter claims that because of his learning difficulties, Mark is quite mad and doesn’t know what he is talking about.

You are required to write notes pertaining to the defence of Peter Bromley and his son, Mark. You need to consider the basis for charges that may be brought pertaining to theft of the tools, burglary and robbery, and possible defences. In relation to the case, your notes should:

  • Explain capacity to commit a crime. (AC1.3)
  • Explain the components of property offences. (AC3.1)
    • Distinguish between lack of honesty under s.2(1) TA 1968 and dishonesty under common law. (AC3.2)
    • Compare and contrast robbery with burglary. (AC3.3)
    • Distinguish intention to commit crime from an attempt. (AC4.3)
    • Examine specific and general defences. (AC5.1)
      • Illustrate the defence of insanity, duress, mistake and involuntary intoxication. (AC5.2)

For a Merit grade you must also:

  • Evaluate the meaning of conditional intent. (ACM3.1)

Guidelines for assessors

The assignments submitted by learners must achieve the learning outcomes and meet the standards specified by the assessment criteria for the unit. To achieve a merit or distinction grade, the learners must demonstrate that they have achieved all the criteria set for these grades. Where work for the pass standard is marginal, assessors can take account of any extension work completed by the learners. The suggested evidence listed below is how learners can demonstrate that they have met the required standards.







Learners must ensure the file of notes is organised, comprehensive with relevant references to case law and statutory provisions. In their work learners must take account of each command verb listed in the assessment criteria. They should explain any legal terminology used.


LO1 AC 1.1, 1.2

As a general background, learners should provide information about the role and nature of criminal law; how acts become criminalised; the different functions of criminal punishments; the role of the Crown Prosecution Service; and the burden of proof.


LO2 AC 2.1, 2.2,

2.3, M2.1, D2.1, D2.2

LO4 AC4.1, 4.2, M4.1

LO5 5.1, 5.3, D5.1

Learners should analyse the need for and meaning of death; legal and factual causation and the intention to murder in relation to the given scenario. They will need to consider and explain the mens rea and foresight. They should consider whether there is a case for manslaughter as opposed to murder. They should refer to Homicide Act 1957 and consider the meaning of diminished responsibility. They need to consider whether Franks can also be charged with murder because of his involvement (R v Jogee 2016) and his role as an accomplice, in assisting and encouraging the incident. In relation to the threat by Franks to a friend of Mayton’s, they need to consider the possibility of an assault charge. Learners should look at the issue of negligence as a form of mens rea in relation to the road traffic accident involving the ex-girlfriend. They will need to examine intoxication as a defence and Handley’s claim of self-defence. They should consider the impact of Human Rights on defences of self-defence. They should also look at the deficiencies in existing rules and any current reform proposals.


LO1 AC 1.3

LO3 AC 3.1, 3.2,

3.3, M3.1

LO4 AC 4.3

LO5 AC5.1, 5.2

In this case, learners need to look at the crime of theft relating to the theft of the tools which Bromley senior claims are borrowed. They need to determine whether a crime has been committed or simply an attempt and the difference between burglary and robbery to see if either of these have been committed. They should consider whether Mark Bromley has the capacity to commit crime and whether the defences of insanity duress, mistake or involuntary intoxication are valid for either of the individuals. (R v Allen 1988, R v Kingston 1994). They will need to explore and explain intent to commit the crime including conditional intent.


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