Criminal Justice System Assignment Requirements
TMA 03 consists of three questions. You are expected to answer all questions in this TMA. The word limit for TMA 03 is a maximum of 2000 words. Remember, all the words you use to answer the questions, including quotations and citations, count. You should use the mark allocation for each question as a guide to the number of words required. Any words used that exceed the overall word count for the TMA will not be marked or commented on.
You must provide a reference list and a word count at the end of your work. The reference list is not included in the word count.
Read the facts in Box 1 below.
Box 1 The facts
Amjit is the chair of his local allotment association and is becoming increasingly concerned by the growing number of instances of criminal damage suffered by the allotment holders. Several potting sheds have been broken into and garden tools have been damaged. In one particularly distressing incident, his entire cucumber crop had been destroyed. At a recent emergency meeting of the allotment association some members had reported seeing two or three young women wearing hooded tops, smoking cigarettes and drinking cider on the edge of the allotment after dark.
In an effort to put a stop to the vandalism Amjit and Sinead, the vice chairman, had begun staying overnight in Amjit’s allotment shed. Last night, at about 9:30 p.m., Amjit heard the sound of raucous laughter and breaking glass, and spotted two young women, Enid and Ruth, pelting one of the sheds with stones and potatoes. Sinead immediately called the police giving a full description of the two women. Amjit confronted the women grabbing Enid by the arm saying, ‘I am arresting you. The police have been called.’ Ruth ran towards the allotment exit kicking over some tomato plants on her way.
Later that night Ruth was approached by PC Swift as she matched the description given to the police by Sinead. PC Swift asked her for her name and whereabouts during that evening. Ruth refused to answer and began to walk away. PC Swift arrested her on suspicion of criminal damage.
Criminal damage is a triable either way offence.
Using only ss24 and 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, consider whether the arrests of Enid and Ruth are lawful.
a. Explain the term miscarriage of justice.
b.Find and read the following article:◦Robson, G. (2014) ‘Losing sight of justice?’, Criminal Law & Justice Weekly, vol. 178, p.525-526.
Summarise how Robson supports her argument that the English criminal justice system is unfair.
Post a message on your Tutor Group Forum (TGF) outlining one aspect of your preparation for TMA 03 that went well and one aspect that can be improved for TMA 04.
TMA 03 tests the following learning outcomes:
•understand the operation of the criminal justice system in England and Wales.
•interpret, describe and apply legal principles and authority in a logical and coherent way
•read information, identify relevant points and take notes, and make summaries in a manner appropriate to the task
•correctly reference and/or cite relevant materials, including case and statute law
•reflect, assess and learn from your own studies.
The OU Law School Undergraduate Assessment Guide contains definitions of words used in TMA questions. It also gives advice on referencing and the reference list that you must produce and include at the end of your work. You should read this guide before attempting TMA 03.
The marking scale against, which your work will be assessed, can be found in the OU Law School Undergraduate Assessment Guide.
•You should answer all three questions.
•You should answer each question (and each part of a question) separately.
•Read each questions carefully, ensure your answers concisely and clearly address each question in your own words. Advice on writing in your own words is given in Section 5 of the OU Law School Undergraduate Assessment Guide.
•You should use numbers in brackets to identify each question.
•You do not need to start a new page for each question.
All of your answers should be written in standard English. They should not include any sort of list. In your answer to Questions 1 and 2, you should not write in the first or second person (e.g. ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘my’, ‘our’, ‘you’ or ‘your’); instead you should use phrases such as ‘A person is …’ or ‘This answer will …’. In your answer to Question 3, you can write in the first person.
This TMA consists of three questions. Questions 1 and 2 test knowledge gained from your studies of Units 6 and 8. Question 2 also tests your legal research skills. You will find Legal Skills 2 useful in helping you prepare for this. Question 3 encourages reflection on your studies, which forms an important part of your personal development planning and allows you to use your TGF.
This is a problem-style question and you should refer to the advice on answering problem-style questions provided in the OU Law School Undergraduate Assessment Guide at Section 3.2.3. In order to answer this question you need to apply ss24 and 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. You are not required to refer to any additional statute or case law and will not be credited for doing so. You will find it useful to review Unit 6 in preparing your answer.
You are not required to write an essay in answer to this question but you should write in full sentences and paragraphs.
a.This question requires an explanation of the term miscarriage of justice. You should illustrate your answer with at least one example drawn from your study of Unit 8.
b.This question requires you to find a journal article. You should ensure that you complete Legal Skills 2 before attempting this. You can find the article using one of the OU Library legal databases as identified in Legal Skills 2. You should answer the question in your own words and avoid direct quotations from the journal article. Please note: this journal article was published in the Criminal Law & Justice Weekly. This journal was formerly called Justice of the Peace.
This question encourages you to make use of your TGF by posting a message which reflects on the work you have done for this TMA and also looks ahead to TMA 04. Therefore, you should not include Question 3 in your TMA submission. However, the content of your TGF post, which forms the answer to Question 3, will contribute to the overall word count for this TMA. You are not required to read and respond to the forum posts of other students in your tutor group for the purposes of this TMA but may do so if you wish. You should ensure your posting is made before the cut-off date for the assignment. Any posting after the cut-off date will not be credited with any marks (unless you have agreed an extension in advance with your tutor).
The Criminal Justice System in England and Wales
- The Arrest of Ruth and Enid – Was it Lawful?
Crime remains an issue of concern across the world. The quest to prevent, alleviate or combat crime in different countries has led to the development and implementation of various laws and measures. The Police and Criminal Evidence Acct of 1984 is an Act of Parliament of England and Wales that offers a legislative framework giving the demarcating the powers of the police and providing the codes of practice for applying the powers (Zander, 2010, p. 3). It balances the powers of the police and the rights and liberties of the public to combat crime lawfully with fairness and justice (Davenport, 2005, p. 98). The application of Section 24 and 24A of the Act in the case of Amjit and Sinead and the arrest of Ruth and Enid will determine whether the arrest was lawful.
Amjit and Sinead had experienced instances of vandalism of their local allotment association potting sheds and damaging of the garden tools. After staying overnight in the allotment shed, Amjit spotted Ruth and Enid pelting one of the sheds with stones and potatoes. Sinead called the police while Amjit confronted the women and grabbed Enid. The arrest of Enid by Amjit was lawful in accordance with Section 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Legislation.gov.uk, 1984). The Section states that an individual other than a constable may arrest without a warrant an individual in the committing an offence. Enid and Ruth were committing an indictable offence when Amjit arrested Enid. Additionally, the Act provides for the arrest of a person by another individual who is not a constable where the person is guilty of the offence committed (Legislation.gov.uk, 1984). Amjit saw Ruth and Enid vandalizing their allotment sheds. As such, Enid was guilty of the offence and Amjit was right to arrest her. As such, the arrest was lawful by the law.
Moreover, Section 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PCEA) 1984 provides for the arrest of a person by another individual who is not a constable without a warrant if it appears impracticable to the person for the constable to make the arrest (Legislation.gov.uk, 1984). In the case of Enid, it was not practicable for the constable to make the arrest. Waiting for the constable to make the arrest would have given Enid a chance to escape like Ruth. As such, it was only practicable for Amjit to make the arrest. Moreover, the law allows for prevention of an individual causing injury to self or damaging property or making off before a constable. The arrest of Enid prevented her from causing loss of and damage to property and making off before the constable. Therefore, it was only right for Amjit to stop her as they waited for the constable.
Similarly, the arrest of Ruth was lawful in accordance with Section 24 of the PCEA 1984. The section provides for the arrest of an individual without a warrant by a constable if the constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence was committed. Additionally, the arrest may be made if the constable has concrete reasons to suspect the individual of being guilty of the offence. In the case of Ruth, with Enid arrested by Amjit and with two witnesses, the constable has a reason to arrest Ruth without a warrant. Moreover, the law allows for the arrest of an individual guilty of an offence or to allow efficient and prompt investigation of the crime or the person (Legislation.gov.uk, 1984). In line with the arrest of Ruth, the PC Swift hoped to enhance investigation of the issue and had substantial reason to believe that she was guilty of the offence. Therefore, the arrest of Ruth was lawful.
In consideration of Section 24 and 24A of the PCEA 1984, it was lawful to arrest Enid and Ruth. The law provides different concerns that must be observed by individuals and the police before an arrest. Amjit and the PC Swift observed all the rules in the arrest of the two. Ruth and Enid were seen vandalizing the allotment sheds, and while Amjit arrested Enid, Ruth escaped. The arrest prevented further destruction of property, prevented Enid from escaping before the arrival of the PC Swift to make the arrest, and created a ground for effective and prompt investigation. That the two were guilty of the offence, the arrest was lawful.
- Miscarriage of Justice and Unfairness in the Criminal Justice System
The criminal justice system is supposed to promote and apply the rule of law in controlling crime through institutions and agencies of law enforcement that apprehend, prosecute, defend, sentence, and punish people suspected of or convicted of criminal activity. The process should be fair and follow due procedure and execution to allow just and fair outcomes. However, sometimes different impediments such as corruption within the agencies and institutions of law enforcement, inconclusive investigation, errors of impunity among others limit efficiency in the process and cause unfair outcomes. These outcomes lead to the wrongful conviction and punishment of innocent persons. The conviction ad punishment of an innocent individual or for a crime they did not commit resulting from the inability of the judicial system to achieve the ends of justice is known as the miscarriage of justice (Robson, 2014, p. 525). The miscarriage of justice remains an issue of great concern in the English legal systems and across the world.
In Losing Sight of Justice?, Glenna Robson discusses the issue of miscarriage of justice in depth, articulately outlining the concern in the English criminal justice system. By citing different cases, the author argues that the system is unfair and often miscarries justice though it is supposed to ensure fairness in the administration of justice. Robson supports the argument by citing the case of the Guilford Four, a case where the system wrongfully convicted the individuals for bombings by the Provisional IRA. The author argues that there were similar other high profile cases handled unfairly and that led to the miscarriage of justice. While citing Gerry Conlon, she argues that there was grand corruption in dealing with the cases involving the different agencies of the justice system. She cites corruption among the police, unfair hearing from blinkered judges, corrupt lawyers, and one-sided media as the major issues that contributed to unfairness and wrongful convictions (Robson, 2014, p. 525).
In the article, Glenna supports the argument that the English criminal system is unfair by outlining cases of blinkered judges. She provides specific cases that the judges held myopic opinions on and how their participation in the justice process prevented fairness and justice and continued to encourage the miscarriage of justice. For instance, Robson highlights the case of Lord Denning who argued that if they allowed the Birmingham Six to win the wrongful conviction case, then it would mean that the convictions were wrongful (Robson, 2014, p. 525). Campaigning against common law made the establishment of justice and fairness in hearings difficult and thus promoted the miscarriage of justice. Additionally, Robson argued that the criminal justice system has enforced laws that focus on fighting the miscarriage of justice by alleviating police corruption. However, the application of the Police and the Criminal Evidence Act of 1995 and the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act of 1996 have not borne the anticipated success as corruption and unfairness remain adamant in the system.
In Losing Sight of Justice?, Robson points
other various factors as contributing to the continuing miscarriage of justice by
the criminal justice system. She asserts that the failure of the law
enforcement agencies such as the police to evaluate and present evidence
accurately via the machinations of lawyers and judges continues to promote
unfairness. Additionally, the author argues that the adversarial system
continues to reveal inefficiency in the administration of justice and thus continues
to convict, prosecute, and punish unfairly. As such, reforms are essential for
enhanced fairness and the alleviation of cases of miscarriage of justice (Robson, 2014, p. 525).
- Tutor Group Forum
In preparation for the tests, I engaged deeply in research through an extensive review of literature. In the process, the identification of relevant and credible sources for application in the study and planning for the tests went well during the preparation. This was due to prior challenges in previous tests that demanded in-depth analysis. I accessed different Google books and journal articles through credible websites and databases. The university website was useful and offered a wide range of resources. The legislation.gov.uk website provided access to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Moreover, the application of Glenna Robson’s article accessed through the internet was essential in the analysis of unfairness in the system and the elaboration of the miscarriage of justice. The planning process involved extensive reading, identification of relevant points, notes-taking, the creation of summaries, and the integration of ideas to ensure credibility and a smooth flow of the ideas. All notwithstanding, I faced different challenges in the preparation process for the tests, and thus, some areas that need improvement.
Even though successful, the interpretation and application of the specific legal principles in the test posed a challenge and demanded extra keenness and effort. For instance, the analysis of legal principles in the case study of Amjit, Sinead, Ruth and Enid and the application of the PCEA 1984 in the determination of the lawfulness of the arrest was challenging. However, I managed to create logical and coherent arguments that integrated legal principles in accordance with the Act. I believe that extra reading and constant analysis of different cases will enhance efficiency in the interpretation, description, and application of legal principles and authority. As such, I believe with continued efforts I will be able to create coherent and logical arguments effortlessly. All in all, tests played a significant role in enhancing my understanding of the operation of the criminal justice system of England and Wales.
Davenport, A., 2005. Police Powers: Entry and Arrest. 2005, 69(2), pp. 98-101.
Legislation.gov.uk, 1984. Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 – Part III – Section 24A. [Online] Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/60/section/24A
[Accessed 11 February 2016].
Legislation.gov.uk, 1984. Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 – Part III: Section 24. [Online]
Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/60/section/24
[Accessed 11 February 2016].
Robson, G., 2014. Losing Sight of Justice?. Criminal Law & Justice Weekly, 178(35/36), p. 525.
Zander, M., 2010. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. London: Sweet & Maxwell.