English criminal law is the body containing laws in the jurisdiction of England and Wales. It deals with crimes that have occurred as well as their consequences. It complements the civil law of England and Wales. When a criminal act is committed, it is considered offensive to the community as a whole. Therefore, international organizations in conjunction with the government work to prevent crimes, bring culprits to justice, and deal with the offenders who have been convicted. There are many forms of crimes, and they are dealt with differently.
Appropriateness of the Law of Voluntary Manslaughter
Manslaughter is an offence that is less serious than murder. The levels of fault make the difference between these two crimes. During the case, the usual practice of the court is to prefer a charge of murder. However, the judge or the defence may choose to introduce manslaughter. In the case of manslaughter, the judges determine the conviction. However, if the accused is convicted of murder, a life imprisonment sentence is mandatory (Haralambous 2010).
The defence reduces the murder charges to manslaughter through showing diminished responsibility of the defendant in the death. In the world that is experiencing an increase in the number of murders every year, this law could be disadvantageous. People who commit murders can get away with the murder charges provided they have a strong defence. If the defence proves that the defendant is not solely responsible for the murder, it could achieve a manslaughter verdict. This can help criminals get away with murder. The case R v Lip man (1970) 1 Q.B 152 is a good example of a murder that could not qualify to be manslaughter. The defendant who committed a murder tried to prove that provocation had occurred but to no avail. It was a serious murder case which could no qualify to manslaughter. Therefore, considerations are made on whether the crime is weighty, which determines the verdict that the defendant receives (Herring 2010).
Appropriateness of the Defence of Insanity
The insanity defence in criminal trials is whereby the suspects claim that they are not responsible for their actions due to their mental health problems. These insanity pleas have recorded a steady increase in the U.K. The insanity defence is only applicable with the intervention of forensic mental health professionals. They carry out the tests according to the jurisdiction.
The insanity defence could be helpful to offenders who were not in a clear state of mind during the commission of the crime. However, it is not appropriate for perfectly sane individuals trying to escape conviction. This is because some individuals may continually engage in crimes and then claim that they were not in their right state of mind. This would help criminals to get away with serious crimes and hinder the execution of justice (Dine 2010). Therefore, it is the role of the courts to evaluate the claim carefully before giving the offenders less harsh convictions. An example was the case R v Kemp (1957) 1 Q.B 399. In this case, the defendant attacked his wife with a hammer causing severe body harm during a blackout. Medical tests proved that he suffered from arteriosclerosis which caused him to engage in the violent act. The jury gave a verdict of guilty but insane. This is a perfect example of the use of the insane defence by an offender during trial. Therefore, if medical tests prove that an individual suffers a mental problem, the defence of insanity can be considered (Martin 2010)
Appropriateness of the Defence of Intoxication
This is another defence used by offenders to reduce the harshness of the conviction. When it comes to the criminal law of England and Wales, even voluntary intoxication is considered as a defence. As long as the individual can prove that his/her body was on drugs or alcohol, this is a defence.
Although this is a defence, the court should try to weigh the crime committed. Some crimes have serious repercussions on the victims. They may also be serious crimes which reveal clear intent by an individual to commit the crime. Such crimes should not be subject to the defence of intoxication. The fact that voluntary intoxication is also considered as a defence is disturbing. This could encourage reckless commission of crimes and use of the defence to escape judgment (Ashworth 2009). The court takes into consideration the circumstances under which the crime was committed and decides whether the jail sentence should be reduced. A case example is R v Lip man (1970) 1 Q.B 152. The defendant had consumed excess L.S.D and crammed inches of a nearby bed sheet into the mouth of the victim causing her to die of asphyxia. He claimed not to have known what he was doing, but his defence of intoxication was rejected due to the seriousness of the crime. Therefore, the consideration of the defence of intoxication also depends on the weight of the crime (Ormerod 2011).
State of Law on Sexual Offences
The Sexual Offences Act, which was introduced in 2003, has incorporated influential factors that were not in existence. According to the research, it is in a satisfactory state due to the measures and laws that it has put in place. For example, rape has been widened and now it includes oral penetration as well. This was not previously considered as rape, though it equally traumatized rape victims. It was a serious law improvement that ensures justice. It also provides laws in regard to offences to children under 13, 16 as well as 18. This makes sure that the rape of underage kids is severely punished. After the occurrence of a rape, a child might be so traumatized that he/she does not go back to the normal life. This is because children are innocent and fragile beings that need to be handled with care. Therefore, crimes against them should be considered as serious and distinct. They should also have harsh verdicts whenever they occur (Clarkson, CMV et.al. 2010).
The Sexual Offences Act also protects the people with mental disorder from sexual abuse. This makes sure that people do not take advantage of such people in the society. Therefore, the law of sexual offences has incorporated most of the critical areas that prevent sexual abuse against individuals. The law can be said to be satisfactory. In case R v Burgess (1991) 2 WLR 1206, the defendant assaulted a woman who was sleeping on his sofa. His apparent state of mind saved him from a harsh verdict. Therefore, sexual offences receive severe verdicts, unless under special circumstances. They are considered as serious crimes against humanity.
Criminal Liability of Ola and Nikki
Ola and Nikki are both underage girls. Therefore, Ola has a criminal liability for putting a permanent tattoo on her body. She knew perfectly well that it was illegal for an underage girl to have a permanent tattoo. This was a crime no matter how petty it may seem. It brought her serious repercussions much later due to her unwillingness to abide by the law. This is a case that would cost her a reasonably harsh sentence. Nikki also had a legal obligation to decline from putting a permanent mark on her stomach. She also knew that it was illegal and should not have abetted.
Ola pushed a person and bruised her in a bid to get the scarf. She did this intentionally and caused bruises on this person. This is also a crime of which she should take responsibility.
Nikki committed a serious crime by using a dirty pin on Ola. This could prove to be dangerous and could expose Ola to diseases. Therefore, she is liable to a criminal verdict should a case open. However, their age may be considered and the verdict made may be less harsh.
In case R v Hancock and Shank land (1986) 2 WLR 257, some minors were throwing concrete blocks from a bridge to the road below. As a result of this reckless act, they killed a driver. They were charged with murder even though they were minors. Therefore, when minors are found to have committed considerably serious crimes, they are liable to verdicts. For this reason, Nikki was liable to a harsh ruling in court for endangering the life of her friend intentionally (Herring 2009).
Criminal law is essential to the running of a state. It ensures that justice is done to victims of crimes. It also ensures that the culprits act as examples to prevent the repeat of crimes by other law offenders. This way, a government prevents the continued occurrence of crimes. International organizations also use criminal law in crime prevention all over the world. Therefore, it should be enforced in all nations in the world to ensure a better tomorrow for the coming generations.