Legal Studies (Ms Hamilton)

Dear Legal Eagles,

Here is some reading to do from the text, until we can all meet again in G3. From the HSC course I would like to start with defenses to a crime which starts on page 43 of your text.

I will briefly go over legal personnel and legal representation., when we return (it is on page 37). Please do any necessary reading and exercises from the above pages as well as the attachments.

See you all soon,


Ms Hamilton.

Legal Personnel in Crime

Criminal trials often involve a large number of people, both behind the scenes and in the courtroom. They are involved in various aspects of the case from the beginning of the investigation through to the end of the trial. Some of the non legal participants are the accused and witnesses.

Legal personnel

Magistrates:  Judicial officers preside over hearings in the LC, hear bail applications, decide criminal proceedings and pass sentence can conduct committal proceedings for indictable offences.

Judges:Judicial officers preside over intermediate and superior courts. They will make decisions on points of law and give instructions to the jury and make sure they understand the proceedings and the evidence presented. Once the jury has decided a verdict, the judge will hand down a sentence. There are some cases of judge alone where the judge will make the final determination and sentence.


In criminal trials the State or Crown is represented by a prosecutor who brings the action against the accused. It is their role to prosecute the offender and obtain an appropriate type of sanction. There are two types police and public. Police prosecutors are specially trained to conduct prosecutions in summery cases. The prosecutor can only run a case properly if the police have made a thorough and exhaustive investigation that he/ she can present in court. Police prosecutors will also work in Children's Court. Public prosecutors will prosecute more serious and indictable cases, they are usually solicitors or qualified barristers   they are employed by the Director of Public Prosecutions DPP. There are nine DPP offices in NSW, 3 metropolitan and 6 regional. The DPP is an independent authority that prosecutes crime on behalf of the govt. The DPP does not investigate crime that is the job of the police. They will prosecute a case if there is sufficient evidence or if it is in the public interest. The recently appointed Director Public Prosecutions named is Lloyd Babb SC. He has been appointed for ten years, this is the first time a DPP has not been given life tenure. (This is a great example of Separation of Powers arguably not in its purest form)

Public Defenders

Where an accused is unable to afford legal representation in their case by a private barrister or solicitor, they may be granted access to a public defender. They are barristers who appear for the accused who has been granted legal aid. Public defenders are paid public barristers who are independent of the government and perform similar duties to a private barrister. They may be briefed by a private solicitor through the Legal Aid Commission or though community based legal group. 


Crime Quiz

Please write true or false next to the following questions or statements.

1)      Death by reckless driving is a form of homicide.  

2)      Assault is only committing harm not threatening harm. 

3)      The age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual sex in NSW is 16.

4)      Tax avoidance is a common form of white collar crime. 

5)      A person who is aware a crime is taking place but not present at the time is a accessory before the fact. 

6)      Joint Criminal enterprise is a law principle in NSW. 

7)      The Theory of Differential Association is hotly contested.

8)      Situational crime prevention is making sure there are enough education programs for homeless youth. 

9)      Social crime prevention is all about connecting people with education , support and opportunities. 

10)   Emma is charged with a public order offence she has most likely used offensive language in a public place. 

11)   Scott feels so strongly about the Carbon Tax he calls for people to take up arms against the government, he is charged with criminal damage. 

12)   The legislation that gives police special powers is Power and responsibilities Act 1998. 

13)   The police can arrest someone for questioning. 

14)   Police can issues cautions and warnings if warranted. 

15)   The police do not have the power to stop and search without a warrant. 

16)   The Crimes Organisational Control Act 2009 is sometimes referred to as the Bikie Laws. 

17)   Arrest is lawful detention. 

18)   Prima Facie refers to the fact police don't have enough credible evidence. 

19)   The Police cannot arrest an individual if they didn't see them commit the crime 

20)   A Summons can be issued by police.