CRIMINAL LAW - Coursework

Question 1 Word limit: 1,250 The commission of a criminal offense usually requires a positive act. Further, Lord Denning in Bratty v Attorney-General of Northern Ireland [1963] AC 386 (HL) stated: “the requirement that it should be a voluntary act is essential…in every criminal case.” However, there are many exceptions to this legal “rule”. Some commentators suggest that there are so many exceptions to the “rule”, that it is, to some extent, a fiction.

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Explain the term ‘omission’ and evaluate the above statement using decided cases and academic opinion. In your answer, outline the arguments for and against imposing criminal liability for omissions.


Question 2 Word limit: 1,250

Tom and Jerry, his wife, own a farm. Business has been bad lately and they are struggling financially. One day Jerry suggests that they should refurbish a barn on their land to expand the business. Tom is furious and says to Jerry; “You can forget it, we don’t have the money, it would be better to burn it down.” Tom leaves to go to the wholesalers to buy animal food.

Jerry sets fire to the barn, believing that is what Tom wants her to do. On arriving home, Tom sees the fire and Jerry standing nearby, smiling.

Tom runs into their house, picks up Jerry’s favorite china plates and says to her, “What have you done? I am going to smash these to pieces!”

Jerry infuriated, grabs a spade and runs towards where Tom has parked his truck, holds the spade over the truck and says; “go on then, I dare you”. Tom puts the china plates back on the table. Jerry starts crying and drops the spade.

Later, Emma, their employee, arrives for work. Tom and Jerry tell Emma that they cannot afford to employ her anymore. Emma is angry and bitter at the news. Emma goes into the garage, finds a pair of cable cutters and when no-one is looking, cuts the brake cable on Tom’s truck. Tom is going to be driving the truck to the farmers market later that day.

Advise the parties as to their criminal liability for criminal damage, if any.

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