To what extent is it justifiable to deviate from fundamentals principles of criminal Law by creating driving offences of strict liability in the interests of maintaining road safety ?
Road Safety Act 2006 After creating two more offences under the Road Sagety Act 2006 of causing death by careless driving and causing death by driving uninsured, disqualified or uninsured, the Government justified those new driving offences by saying that ‘[t]he whole purpose of such legislation is to ensure that we take greater care and that we avoid dangerous driving’1 In order to adress this question, one has to appreciate the basic rules relating to Criminal Law, and more precisely to the creation of strict liability offences in order to maintain society safety. Moreover, one should consider the essential principles which would be minimized with the creation of strict liability offences. Criminal Law is a formal system of written law which establishes guidelines to govern human behaviour. It can be boiled down to answer two questions : What behaviour deserves criminal punishment ? And also, what is the appropriate punishment for criminal behaviour ? Criminal law is one kind of social control, one form of responsibility for deviating from social norms, considered as principle. This latter is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning2 . For a man to be convicted of a crime, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove that a certain state of affairs which is forbidden by the criminal law has been caused by his conduct, and also, that this event was accompanied by a prescribed state of mind. So, most of the crimes will require proof of mens rea, which is the fundamental mental element. But the difficulty that one should appreciate in this subject is the interrelation that can exist between criminal law and offences in which the state of mind of the defendant does not acquire an important place. In order to define those kind of criminal offences, there is a tendency to use the word strict liability to refer to a broad range of divergent ways in which a criminal offence might be deficient in moral content. Imposing driving offences of strict liability would significate that you deviate from the Principle of Minimum Criminalization, coupled with the Principle of Proportionality. As it is clearly stated in the paragraph 27 of the judgement of R v Hughes3, the Parliamentary sovereignty would allow the Parliament , if it has chosen to do so, to legislate contrary to fundamentals principles of Human Rights. This essay will seek to illustrate until which point can the Parliament create new strict liable criminal legislation so as to prevent issues related to road safety. (What am i going to tell them in this essay : mes parties). Should the Law, constantly reformed, should create new rule to punish unintentionnal crimes ? After reading this essay, one should be able to answer this endlessly debated question.
I. Why should criminal law enforce some driving offences of strict liability to maintain road safety ?
Ashworth’s principled objective of the criminal law should be its utilization to censure person for substantial wrongdoing. In fact, Criminal Law seeks to enforce moral values, to punish those who deserve punishment and to educate people about appropriate conduct and behaviour. The government of the day possess the power to draw the limits of the criminal law, and also to limit the role of jury, magistrate and judge by the statutory framework. But the main rule of the criminal law is to preserve order. In fact, in the case of R v Hughes, one could ask himslef : what would be a world where driving without a licence would not be an offence ? A licence is the representation that someone is able to drive. Thus, an individual with a licence possess a required standard of driving. (Document Karen). As profesor Herbert...
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