Published on February 18, 2014
CATEGORIES OF CRIME
NSW Crimes Act 1900 has 16 categories of crime Which category a crime belongs to will often affect the way an offence is investigated, prosecuted and punished.
Study tip Be careful not to get confused between categories of crime and examples of specific offences. Understanding the wording in the syllabus is crucial. For example, ‘offences against persons’ is a category crime, whereas ‘manslaughter’ and ‘sexual assault’ are examples of specific crimes that come under the type of crime ‘offences against persons’. You should aim to understand what each category of crime is and be able to correctly categorise specific offences appropriately. An example is always an excellent way to support a definition of a concept and you should aim to do this in Legal Studies. Creating a mnemonic can be an effective way for you to remember the categories of crimes, as in Pink Snails Eat …
The seven categories of crime referred to in the syllabus are:
Offences against the sovereign involve criminal acts against the government, e.g. Treason involves the commission of acts aimed at bringing down the government or head of state. Sedition involves the incitement of hatred and/or violence in Australia against the government or head of state. The Federal Government’s anti-terrorism laws contain sedition provisions. These provisions have attracted quite a deal of debate about the need to balance protection of society against freedom of speech in this post 9/11 world.
Offences against persons involve the intended causing of injury to a person e.g. assault, manslaughter.
Economic offences involve the infliction of economic loss upon the victim, e.g. Loss or damage to the victim’s property e.g. robbery, larceny White collar crime, so called because it is committed by office workers working in a business environment e.g. embezzlement, the taking of money by an employee from a business, or tax evasion. Computer crime, e.g. identity theft, unlawful downloading of material which is subject to copyright such as films, songs, images.
Drug offences involve the use, supply and possession of prohibited drugs. Most offences are covered in the Drug Misuse & Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW). e.g. possessing or supply prohibited drug, noting the quantity of the drug will, in part, determine the severity of the offence.
Driving offences involve breaches of traffic laws. Many traffic offences are strict liability offences, e.g. speeding. Other, non-strict liability offences include dangerous driving occasioning death and driving in a manner dangerous to the public.
Public Order offences involve acts, which the reasonable person would deem unacceptable behaviour. Such offences aim to achieve a measure of social control and cohesion through regulation, e.g. offensive conduct, offensive language.
Preliminary Offences involve attempting to or planning to commit a crime, both of which are themselves criminal acts e.g. Attempt, e.g. attempted break, enter and steal, loitering with intent. Conspiracy involving two or more people agreeing to commit a crime, e.g. planning to rob a bank.
Activity Use pages 9-18 of your textbook Make 7 A4 posters (on paper or the computer) which outline the categories of crime in the syllabus On each, define the type of crime, give examples, and outline the types of sentences that may arise from these.
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