This course introduces students to fundamental aspects of criminal justice and process. Woven through the course is a critical examination of the interaction between the criminal justice system and the criminal law: specifically, that application of the law is shaped by and dependent on decisions made by criminal justice actors including police, prosecutors and judicial officers. Specific areas of focus include: why some activities are criminalised and others not; the use and misuse of discretion; the impact of the reliance on summary justice; the significance of pre-trial processes such as search, arrest and bail; and the over-representation of Indigenous people and other vulnerable groups.
Crime and the Criminal Process also introduces the doctrinal building blocks of criminal law, and applies these principles to a number of key statutory offences such as public order offences and drugs offences which illustrate the process themes above. The impact of public policy and law reform is an important underlying theme.
Criminalisation, over-criminalisation and defining crime
Criminal process, including police powers and pre-trial process
Components of criminal offences: physical and mental elements
Drugs (NSW only), including harm minimisation policies and incursions into general principles of criminal law
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