Blameworthy

Behaviour which is wrong and unacceptable must be identified and the courts must punish those who are ‘blameworthy’.

The criminal law is about holding those responsible for wrongdoing to account.  The courts need to find who is to blame for the wrongful acts.  

It is important that the jury has all the facts and what part others may have played, in order to be fair in their decision.  The victim or the victim’s family will also want to know who has committed the offence to help them feel that society has correctly identified the wrongdoer and that the culprit has been appropriately punished.  This will enable the victim or their families to move on with their lives.

It is also important to society generally, as part of the criminal process is to enable society to identify behaviour which is wrong and unacceptable and to punish those who are ‘blameworthy’.

What can be more blameworthy than a person setting out with the aim to bring about the consequence. Indirect intention was created by the courts to ensure those who are morally blameworthy do not escape conviction.

There are various levels of mens rea or blameworthiness.  Some offences are more serious than others and as a general rule the more serious the offence the higher the level of mens rea required such as ‘intention’ or ‘recklessness’.  This is related to the consequences of conviction and again as a general rule the more serious the offence – the greater the punishment.

Criminal law: text, cases and materials (text cases & materials)

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