Criminal Litigation

Criminal Law and Practice | SQE1 – SQE2 Questions and Answers Examples

1-Burglary at jewellery shop

A burglary takes place at a jewellery shop in the early hours of the morning. The police were called to the incident by the manager of a public house which is situated opposite the jewellery shop ten metres away. The manager of the public house viewed the burglary via the public house’s closed circuit television (CCTV) system, however no recording of the burglary is available because the CCTV system was faulty. The manager gave a statement to the police indicating that, despite the poor street lighting, he recognised the offender as a man who used to work in the public house until one year ago. He names the man to the police. The man, who has previous convictions for burglary, is arrested by the police. In his police interview under caution, the man agrees that he used to work in the public house, but denies that he committed the burglary. The police are considering whether to hold an identification procedure.

Would an identification procedure serve a useful purpose in this case?

Answers:

A. Yes, because the witness viewed the burglary via a CCTV camera which failed to record the incident.

B. No, because the man is known to the witness.

C. Yes, because the man is known to the police.

D. No, because the lighting at the time of the offence was poor.

E. No, because the distance between the jewellery shop and the public house was too great.

Correct answer:

B. No, because the man is known to the witness.

2-Suspended sentence of imprisonment for theft

A man was convicted of theft four months ago. He received a suspended sentence order of six months’ custody. The operational period of the suspended sentence is 12 months. A requirement to complete 80 hours of unpaid work was attached to the suspended sentence order and the man has completed the unpaid work. The man has now been convicted in the magistrates’ court of a non-imprisonable driving offence committed one month ago.

Can the magistrates’ court activate the sentence of imprisonment?

Answers:

A. Yes, because the man has committed an offence during the operational period of the suspended sentence order.

B. No, because the new offence is non-imprisonable.

C. No, because the man has completed the requirement attached to the suspended sentence order.

D. No, because the operational period of the suspended sentence order is still running.

E. Yes, because the man has committed an offence within the six month period of custody imposed.

 

Correct answer:

A. Yes, because the man has committed an offence during the operational period of the suspended sentence order.

3-Previous convictions in plea of mitigation – ethics

A solicitor acts for a client who is found guilty of shoplifting. The client asks the solicitor to present a plea in mitigation on her behalf. At the hearing the client gives the court a false address and date of birth in order to conceal the fact that she has previous convictions.

Which of the following statements best describes what the solicitor should do?

Answers:

A. Cease to act immediately.

B. Not refer to the client’s character or previous convictions.

C. Immediately correct the information about the client’s address and date of birth without further reference to the client.

D. Not refer directly to the client’s previous convictions but imply that she is of good character.

E. Ask the client to correct the information about her address and date of birth and if she refuses cease to act.

 

Correct answer:

E. Ask the client to correct the information about her address and date of birth and if she refuses cease to act.

4-Assault occasioning actual bodily harm on girlfriend

An adult man has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm upon his girlfriend with whom he has a child. He has pleaded not guilty and the case has been adjourned for trial. The man has a condition of bail not to contact his girlfriend. The police receive a report from his girlfriend’s mother to say that the man is at his girlfriend’s flat. When the police attend the flat they arrest the man on suspicion of breaching his bail condition. The man admits visiting his girlfriend at her flat. He explains that his girlfriend telephoned him and asked him to visit because their child was ill. His girlfriend has confirmed that the man’s account is correct. The police allege that the man has breached his bail condition.

Which of the following statements best represents the position regarding the allegation that he has breached his bail condition?

Answers:

A. The man is not in breach of his bail condition because contact was initiated by his girlfriend. The man will not face any consequences as a result of his visit to his girlfriend’s flat.

B. The man is not in breach of his bail condition because he had good reason to be in contact with his girlfriend. The man will not face any consequences as a result of his visit to his girlfriend’s flat.

C. The man is in breach of his bail condition. He may be charged with an offence of breach of bail condition.

D. The man is in breach of his bail condition. He will be brought before the court for his bail to be reconsidered.

E. The man is in breach of his bail condition. He will be remanded in custody until his case goes to trial.

 

Correct answer:

D. The man is in breach of his bail condition. He will be brought before the court for his bail to be reconsidered.

5-Robbery – ID parade

A man has been charged with robbery. He was not represented at the police station because he declined legal advice. The man agreed to take part in a video identification parade and was positively identified by one of the witnesses to the crime. The man has a visible scar under his right eye which was mentioned by an eyewitness in their initial witness statement. No attempt was made by the video parade inspector to conceal the scar on the man’s face when his image was placed in the compilation of images for the video identification parade. A solicitor has now been instructed to represent the man at his forthcoming trial in the Crown Court, where the man will plead not guilty. As part of the solicitor’s trial preparation, she has reviewed the images used in the video parade and has noted that only two of the other eight images shown in the video parade show similar looking males with a visible scar under their right eye. The solicitor establishes that as a consequence there has been a provable breach of Code D of PACE 1984.

Which of the following statements best states whether evidence of the video identification parade will be admitted in evidence at the man’s trial?

Answers:

A. The breach of Code D of PACE may lead the court to conclude that the evidence should be excluded if its admission would be an abuse of process.

B. The breach of Code D of PACE will compel the court to exclude the identification evidence because of its prejudicial effect.

C. The breach of Code D of PACE may lead the court to conclude that the evidence should be excluded if its admission would have an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings.

D. The breach of Code D of PACE will not compel the court to exclude the evidence because its admission would not have an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings.

E. The breach of Code D of PACE will compel the court to conclude that the evidence should be excluded and order that the breach must be cured by the police conducting a further video identification parade in compliance with the Code.

 

Correct answer:

C. The breach of Code D of PACE may lead the court to conclude that the evidence should be excluded if its admission would have an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings.

6-Nightclub incident

A man attacks a victim at a nightclub, violently banging the victim’s head backwards against a wall and intending to cause the victim really serious bodily harm. The victim is badly injured and goes to the doorman who works at the nightclub to ask for help. The doorman thinks the victim is drunk and throws her out of the building. Soon afterwards the victim is found lying on the pavement and is taken to hospital. Her condition is very serious due to massive brain damage, sustained as a result of the man’s actions together with some deterioration in her condition while she is lying on the pavement. She is placed on a life support machine which is switched off when it becomes clear she has suffered brain stem death. The man is charged with murder.

Which statement best explains the man’s potential liability for murder?

Answers:

A. He cannot be found guilty of murder because the doorman’s actions contributed to the victim’s death.

B. He cannot be found guilty of murder because death was not an inevitable consequence of his actions.

C. He cannot be found guilty of murder because the victim only died as a result of the life support machine being switched off.

D. He can be found guilty of murder because he has participated in a joint enterprise with the doorman resulting in the victim’s death.

E. He can be found guilty of murder because his conduct was a substantial and operative cause of the victim’s death.

 

Correct answer:

E. He can be found guilty of murder because his conduct was a substantial and operative cause of the victim’s death.

7-Setting Caravan on fire

A man finds a caravan in a field and decides to set fire to it. He does not know and does not check to find out if anyone is residing in the caravan but just sets fire to it. In fact there is an elderly man inside who cannot escape because of the smoke and who is burnt to death when the caravan is destroyed by the fire. The man intended to unlawfully destroy property but not to harm anyone.

Which of the following best describes the man’s liability for involuntary manslaughter?

Answers:

A. He is not guilty as the unlawful act of destroying the caravan was not itself dangerous to life.

B. He is not guilty because he did not intend by destroying the caravan to endanger the life of anyone.

C. He is guilty because he was grossly negligent when he did not check to see if anyone was residing in the caravan before he set fire to it.

D. He is guilty because he has committed an unlawful and dangerous act that has killed the elderly man.

E. He is guilty because the death of the elderly man was foreseeable to the reasonable man.

 

Correct answer:

D. He is guilty because he has committed an unlawful and dangerous act that has killed the elderly man.

8-Practical joke with colleague’s computer

A man squeezed superglue into the hard drive of his colleague’s computer. The man intended only to play a practical joke by making the computer temporarily unusable. He foresaw that his actions could cause damage to the computer and it was, in the circumstances known to him, unreasonable to take this risk. He did not foresee that damage was a virtually certain consequence of his actions. In fact the computer was damaged beyond repair and he ought to have foreseen that this was a virtual certainty. His actions were unreasonable.

Is the man guilty of criminal damage?

Answers:

A. No, because he did not intend to cause the damage.

B. No, because he did not foresee that the damage was a virtually certain consequence of his actions.

C. No, because he was only negligent with respect to the damage.

D. Yes, because he foresaw the risk of damage and it was, in the circumstances known to him, unreasonable of him to take the risk.

E. Yes, because he should have foreseen that the damage was a virtually certain consequence of his actions and his actions were unreasonable.

 

Correct answer:

D. Yes, because he foresaw the risk of damage and it was, in the circumstances known to him, unreasonable of him to take the risk.

9-Admission to killing wife

A woman has died. A few days after her body was found, her husband went to a public house and became very drunk. He admitted to a friend that he had killed his wife because he was jealous of her relationship with another man. This conversation was overheard by the landlord of the public house. The man’s friend and the landlord gave statements to the police detailing the man’s admission. The man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and interviewed under caution, during which he denied killing his wife and denied making the admission to his friend.

Is the man’s admission to his friend in the public house admissible at his trial as an exception to the rule against hearsay?

Answers:

A. No, because the admission was made outside his trial.

B. No, because the admission was not confirmed by the man in his interview under caution.

C. Yes, because the admission can be corroborated by more than one person.

D. Yes, because it is an admission to an offence.

E. No, because the man was drunk when he made the admission.

 

Correct answer:

D. Yes, because it is an admission to an offence.

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