I know that I did say I wasn’t going to be around so much but I’m stuck in the library after finishing some admin work in regards to benefit appeals etc. I’m not going out there yet because the rain is quite heavy. I get funny looks because others aren’t used to people bringing their own sellotape to the library nowadays. I needed it to seal up the bigger envelope because the sticky stuff has dried out due to them being extremely old. The paperwork I have put in envelopes will get soaked before I even get them to the post office across the road.
I will start with some great news which has quite frankly been a huge relief to me. I got a phone call from my landlord letting me know that they were definitely keeping the flat. They offered me a 6 of 12 months contract. I’ve opted for a 12 months contract because I’m in no position to move yet. It is a huge weight off my mind knowing that I now have a roof over my head for the time being.
I need to get back to tidy my flat and do much needed revision for my law GCSE exam. That isn’t going too well. I am finding it so hard to memorise things. I only get bits but not everything. It is quite annoying especially when it comes to remembering case law that relates to specific circumstances, such as the ‘but for’ and ‘causation’. They have two cases of the same name called Cunningham but one is from 1952 and the other is from 1984 (don’t quote me on those dates). In those cases I’m going to have to be able to remember the differences because they relate to completely different circumstances and parts of case law. I was going through actus reus and mens rea aspects last night. Basically elements of a crime to all those that have no idea regarding latin terminology. There is a lot more to it than just the act. Also, mens rea isn’t taken into account under any law which has been introduced by statute (an act of parliament in laymans terms). As the UK doesn’t have their law codified, nearly every part of our law is an act of parliament. Those laws which have been introduced via a statute are strict liability which basically it doesn’t matter if someone means to break it or something happens on their behalf which they do not know about (known as ought to have known. eg. Harrow London Borough Council v Shah and Shah when their employee sold a lottery ticket to someone under 16). There are also many criminal laws that come under statute too. The GCSE syllabus only focuses on certain crimes like Assault, Battery, Theft, ABH, GBH (s 20 or s 47 depending on severity of injury sustained), Manslaughter and Murder (both Manslaughter and Murder is contained in the Homicide Act). The only part where mens rea is used is in a crime such as Murder and this doesn’t excuse the act, instead it reduces it to Manslaughter.
In regards to the law that I got labelled a criminal under (Harassment Act 1997), that is a strict liability one because it was enacted by an act of parliament. If there was law reforms it would have to amended and written into the current act. However, it has already been reformed once because it was allowing murders to happen before the police could intervene. As I said before though, if someone is angry enough at someone then they’d never care about an order telling them to keep away. Therefore, in reality it changes nothing, and there have been many incidences since the law was changed where people have still ended up murdered. There has also been many with disabilities (especially learning disabilities) that have got caught up in these law changes who should have been diverted away from the criminal justice system. I was told by the local police chief that officers are supposed to use their discretion when deciding whether to charge an individual. In reality, this doesn’t happen because there isn’t enough police officers (due to cuts) to properly deal with every incident that gets reported to them. That isn’t even taking into consideration the paperwork required for every case which gets reported. They know that if they miss something which results in a situation escalating into something with dire consequences, then it will come back on them (due to health and safety laws being strict liability).
There is too many people needing services now due to population increases. In a conversation the other day, I was told that a case worker (not stated in regards to the organisation or service that it was) has 60 cases. It is no wonder that the wrong decisions are constantly being made because it isn’t humanly possible to be attentive to that many cases. There is absolutely no way that our system is going to improve while it is being basically run on a shoe string. Those that are out to cause harm to others know that the system is at breaking point and will take advantage of that. Those of us that could do with the support don’t get it or if they do it isn’t the right support because the system doesn’t have the resources.
In our exams we are told to stick to the IDEA formula when answering questions on criminal liability. This stands for Identify the crime in the scenario, define the main aspects of the actus reas etc, explain how it applies to the scenario and then apply it to the scenario. They suggest that we break it into paragraphs because it makes it easier for the examiners to mark. Obviously, this doesn’t work for other questions which are more likely to be on the first paper on the English legal system. This formula is more applicable to paper two when we have to apply our knowledge to scenarios provided (law in action).
I’m going to make myself go to the Gym tonight because I am fed up of my weight going back up. It went down quite well, but then it yo-yoed back up again.