• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A person who genuinely attempts to commit a criminal offence and fails still deserves to be punished just as much as a person who succeeds in committing an offence

Extracts from this document...


A person who genuinely attempts to commit a criminal offence and fails still deserves to be punished just as much as a person who succeeds in committing an offence. The offence of attempt is the closest we get in the English legal system to satisfying the statement in question; however it is still the case that many defendants escape punishment because they didn't go far enough in attempting the crime, despite genuinely attempting to commit a criminal offence. In this essay I will analyse the existing law on attempts and conclude as to whether it is satisfactory. Attempt is an inchoate offence and is covered by the Criminal Attempts Act 1981. This act provides that "if with intent to commit an offence to which this section applies, a person does an act which is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence; he is guilty of attempting to commit the offence". The criminal law does not punish people for just intending to commit an offence; intent is a mental quality that implies a purpose, whereas attempt implies an effort to carry that purpose or intent into execution. An attempt goes beyond preliminary planning and involves a move towards the commission of the crime. The question as to where the defendant has gone before a merely preparatory act is unclear and open to differences in opinion. ...read more.


This role of sentencing will both benefit people who have committed an attempt or those with only the mens rea of the offence and have not gone far enough for the actions to be seen as more than preparatory. The question of whether an act is "more than merely preparatory" is a matter of fact and, in a trial on indictment, will be for the jury to decide. It seems that for some crimes, the defendant must go much further to completion of the act than for others and I believe that this needs clarifying in order to make the law fairer. For example Geddes, a man who was found in the boys' toilets equipped with a knife, tape and rope was found to have not committed attempted false imprisonment yet, R v Tosti and White who like Geddes were only found with the equipment needed to commit their crime of Burglary were found guilty. In committing an attempt the defendant has the mens rea for the complete offence and may be equally as dangerous. The academic Becker (1974) argues that whether an offence is actually committed or merely attempted, the same type of harm can be caused: disruption and social stability. One such example is in R v Gullefer where the defendant seeing that the dog that he had backed at the greyhound race was losing, jumped onto ...read more.


However, the House of Lords have since overruled their own decision in Shivpori where the defendant was arrested by customs officers and confessed that there was heroin in his luggage, however it was found that the substance was only vegetable leaves yet he was still convicted of an attempt. Now the only case in which impossibility can be a defence is if ther accused attempts to commit what they think is an offence, but which is actually not against the law such as in Taaffe. In conclusion I agree with the view in the question to a large extent. A person who genuinely attempts to commit a criminal offence and fails still deserves to be punished just as much as a person who succeeds in committing an offence. A defendant who has committed an attempt is still morally wrong and possibly just as dangerous as if they had managed to complete the offence. I believe that the current position of the law in England on the sentencing of attempts for most cases sufficient however there should be a clearer line drawn between what is preparatory and what the part of the crime. The offender should face the maximum sentence for the completed offence and a judge should decide based on the merits of the case, the sentence appropriate for that defendant. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Criminal Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Criminal Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Is the current law on the non-fatal offences against the person satisfactory?

    4 star(s)

    However, this does not cover future threats, and implicitly there is a requirement that the victim believe that the defendant is capable of carrying out the threat at any time. In order to overcome the confusion surrounding assault and battery, the new offence of assault makes it an offence for

  2. Law - Unit 3 - Mock Exam Question

    established the concept of a duty of care. Her friend bought her a ginger beer, it had a snail in it and she became ill. She couldn't sue the shop because no contract but sued the manufacture. Went to the House of Lords where they decided manufacture owed a duty of care.

  1. Nina runs a burger bar. She puts up a sign in the window saying ...

    Nina's actions would fulfill both of these aspects of the test, as she clearly knew she was being dishonest through her advertising, and any reasonable person would also reach this conclusion. From all of this analysis, it is possible to conclude that Nina has committed an act of fraud under Section 2(a)

  2. The regulations on arrest and detention of offenders under the Police and Criminal Act ...

    [6] Additionally, once a suspect has been detained in the station, it is the duty of the custody officer to keep a custody record which involves the various stages of the detention of the suspect as well other factors. Furthermore, the custody officer has the duty to check and make

  1. The History and Main Features of Criminal Law in the USA.

    Homicide encompasses much more than premeditated murder. It is a generic term meaning the killing of one human being by another.[7] While the killing of a human being has been recognized for centuries as prohibited conduct, the exact nature of the crime was not clearly defined during early historical times.

  2. Critically discuss the Labour Governments record of crime control since coming to power in ...

    Some problems also occur due to the retrospective nature of disclosing the crimes, including problems of recall, as revealed by ?reverse record-checking?, and also of ?forward-telescoping?, as well as problems of accurately counting multiple victimisations, as for example a doorman at a nightclub may not be able to count how often he had been assaulted during the last year.

  1. Sources of the English Legal System and the Relationship between Legislation and Judicial ...

    Furthermore, in the interpretation of statues there are aids of interpretation which are internal and external aids. The internal aids apply to both the literal and golden rule. The internal aids can be found within the piece of legislation itself, or in some rules of language usually applied in statutory texts.

  2. Explain the meaning of Actus reus and mens rea

    Outline the aims of sentencing Explain the meaning of Bail and apply to ?. Outline the procedure the D will face prior to the trial (do it for triable either way) What if it was an indictable or summary offence? Outline the routes of appeal for each type of offence.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work