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Property Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Police Powers of Search and Entry Essay Sample

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Property Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Police Powers of Search and Entry Essay Sample

1. Theft

Theft Act 1968 states that a person will be responsible of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property which is belonging to another with the purpose of permanently depriving the other of it.

For Actus Reus related to theft it can be that if a person in a business steals company files without having permission to do so, this means that the person would be committing theft and for this reason they can be found guilty. For the Mens Rea of theft, the person must have been intended to steal something from the company such as the company files, this can be done due to get a member of staff in the company in trouble or to get them sacked. There was a case where a person was convicted of theft. D was a solicitor who transferred money from his clients’ account to a higher account in an attempt to cover his personal debts. D was guilty since it was an illegal action to take. Fernandes, R v [1996].

2: Obtaining property by deception

Fraud Act 2006 states that you cannot gain property by giving incorrect information. For example a person who is working to care for an elderly or disabled person, but the person who is caring for them has access to the elderly or disabled person’s bank account and misuses his position by transferring money to invest in a high-risk business of his own.

The Mens Rea of obtaining property by deception is that the person who was caring for elderly or disabled person knew that it was illegal to have someone’s bank details but still goes ahead and uses it for wrong purposes. The Actus Reus of obtaining property by deception is that the person has committed the theft and should be found guilty of his actions. There was a case related to obtaining property by deception, this was where D sold a car by giving false number plates to V in return for a cheque of �165. D lied to V by a false representation that he was the owner of the car and he entitled to sell it. Laverty, R v (1970)

3: Obtaining services by deception

This is included in the Fraud Act 2006 it tells us that if you obtain services with the wrong information then the person who is blameworthy they would have to pay a fine or they could possibly be jailed. The Actus Reus for deception is that a company orders a service but the service is not available to them. Along with Mens Rea it is that if the business has the right address but has the wrong business and if this is done purposely then the business will be obtaining services by deception. There was a case where D made a claim whereas his mother was alive to Birmingham City Council Social Services to provide a bathroom for the assistance of his elderly and sick mother. However D’s mother died, but the council carried out the works on the house. Rai, R v (2000)

4: Making off without payment

This consists of payment at the time of gathering goods on which a job has been done or in respect of which service has been supplied, this has been stated in the Theft Act 1978 in section 3. This section is planned to look after genuine business concerns and it relates to where goods are supplied or it can be where a service is carried out on the basis that the payment will be made. There was a case where D asked for a taxi driver to take him to a club which was 13 miles away. When D arrived he refused to pay the �15 fare he claimed that the journey was only four miles. The taxi driver at first started to take them back to their hotel, and then he took them to the police station where D ran out of the taxi. Aziz, R v (1993)

Task 4: Describe the elements of liability for corporate manslaughter.

1. Define the following offences, outlining the differences between them.

A) Murder – This is the act of killing another human being; with malice aforethought. It’s defined as the intention to kill or to cause bodily harm. For example, there was a case D lost his temper with his three-month-old son and threw the child onto a hard surface, causing head injuries from which the child died RV Woollin (1998). The differences between the others are that murder is the intentional and planned act of murder. A person should have thought about it, intended the murder and carried out the action.

B) Voluntary manslaughter – This is where a defendant has caused a victim’s death, and also has been confirmed to have had the essential mens rea for murder. If the defendant succeeds with the defence, his responsibility is reduced from murder to manslaughter. This manslaughter is described as voluntary, since there will have been evidence that the defendant did mean to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.

The differences between the others are that voluntary manslaughter is when a murder is committed in the heat of the moment. There is no thought and generally no attempt to hide after the fact. The intention to kill was present at the time of the killing.

Diminished responsibility

Diminished responsibility is defined in s.2 of the Homicide Act 1957. Diminished responsibility is the condition in which someone’s mental state, etc. causes them not to be in full control of their actions. For example, there was a case

where the defendant was a sexual psychopath who strangled a young woman and mutilated her body R v Bryne (1960).


Provocation is defined in s.3 of the Homicide Act 1957. This is the killing which is caused by an event or situation which would most likely to cause a reasonable person to lose self-control and kill. For example, there was a case where

D, subjected to 10 years of spousal violence and degradation, threw petrol in her husband’s bedroom and set it alight, causing his death.

C) Involuntary manslaughter – This is where there is no intention to kill or cause serious injury, however death is due to carelessness or criminal negligence. The differences between the others are that involuntary manslaughter is when someone unintentionally kills a human being without legal justification if their acts, whether lawful or unlawful, which has caused the death, such as causing death or serious bodily harm to someone, and they do it carelessly.

Constructive manslaughter

Constructive manslaughter is related to involuntary manslaughter; it is an unlawful killing which has taken place where the defendant needs the mens rea of murder. The offence of constructive manslaughter can be broken down into three elements:

* There must be an unlawful act

* The unlawful act must be dangerous

* The unlawful dangerous act must cause death

R v Cato (1976)

Two drug addicts were injecting each other several times throughout the night with heroin. Each person made his chosen mixture of water and powder, and then they passed it to their friend to perform the injection. By morning they were both extremely ill and his friend died. The other person survived and was charged with the manslaughter of his friend.

Gross negligence manslaughter

Gross negligence manslaughter is related to involuntary manslaughter where the defendant is acting lawfully.

Rv Adomako (1995)

There was a case where an anesthetist failed to notice that a tube had become disconnected from the ventilator and the patient died.

Reckless manslaughter

A person is guilty of reckless manslaughter if she/he recklessly causes the death of another person.

R v Lidar (1999)

The defendant drove off with the victim hanging out of the car window. The victim was killed after as he was fallen out of the window and being run over by the defendant.

D) Corporate manslaughter – Allows a firm to be punished and censured for the guilty behavior which leads to a person’s death. There was a case where D’s automatic warning system was not working on a train which was travelling at 125mph from Swansea to London, due to this it crashed a freight train. 151 people were injured and several died. Furthermore �10 million worth of damage was caused. Great West Trains, R v [2000]. This is different compare to others because this offence can lead to businesses being punished and can be responsible for their actions. The company can also be convicted under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2009 since the act is there to deal with crime that is committed by a company in relation to a work-related death.

2. Explain the meaning of corporate responsibility?

This refers to the voluntary responsibility towards key stakeholders. It is measurable, but based on the company’s objectives and values; it is also separated into social, economic and environmental responsibility. Businesses are motivated to become more socially responsible because their essential stakeholders wait for them to understand and address the social and community issues that are important to them.

3. Describe the actus reus and mens rea of corporate manslaughter?

Actus reus

The business was fined �60,000, and the company was each convicted of four counts of manslaughter. Kite was jailed for three Years. Jury verdict 10 to two. The four sixth-formers who died were Dean Sayer, 17, Simon Dunne 16, Claire Langley 16, and Rachel Walker 16. They were convicted of actus reus and mens rea. It can be convicted of Actus reus as it resulted in someone dying. Also it can be mens rea since people died because the health and safety measures were not met which led to people dying.

Task 5: Identify the powers of the authorities to arrest, search and seize property in relation to a business.

1. Identify the following police powers with regards to businesses, stating the limits to these powers:

Powers to arrest

The police can stop and search a person in a business, but this can only be done if the police have a reasonable argument for suspecting on what they will find, these include the following:

* drugs

* stolen goods

* an offensive weapon

* any article made or adapted for use in certain offences, for example a burglary or theft

* knives

* Any items which could damage or destroy the property, for example spray paint cans.

If a violent incident has happened in a business such as someone stealing an item from the business then the police can stop and search a person as the police will know that they will find the item.

If the police stop to search a person, they have to provide with the following information, or alternatively if not the search can not begin, these include the following:

* proof of their warrant card

* information on police powers to stop and search

* your rights

* the police officer’s name and police station

* the explanation for the search

* what they think they might find when they search a person

All of these situations, the police have a right to stop and search a person, they do not want you to take off any clothing, other than an outer coat, gloves or jacket. If they want, the police can do a lot more search in private, for example, a police van. The search has to be made by a police officer which is the same sex.

Powers to search a person when arrested

If a person is arrested, the police can search them for anything that might be used to help a person escape or for evidence regarding to the offence that has led to the arrest.

For some situations a police officer of the rank of inspector can provide the police with the agreement to make searches in a specific field for a certain time. When the permission is in strength, then the police can search for any offensive weapons or for dangerous instruments for suspecting that the people are carrying out.

Powers to enter premises without a warrant and to search premises

The police are given powers to come into premises without a warrant by a various Acts of Parliament. For instance, the Gaming Act 1968 they have the power to enter licensed premises to carry out examinations. The other powers consist of searches for drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and for the firearms under the Act of Firearms 1968. They might also have the right to go into premises without a warrant to deal with or prevent a breach of the peace. Moreover the PACE which stands for police and criminal evidence provides with some other powers, these include:

* To carry out a warrant of arrest or commitment.

* To arrest someone for different offences under the Public Order Acts 1936 and 1986 – such as violent disorder, threatening behaviour and disorderly conduct

* To bring back a person who has escaped from legal custody.

The police officer could search the premises; however the power of search is only a control to search to the extent that is reasonably necessary for the purpose which the power of entry is exercised.

Seize property

The police are given powers to seize property from premises or persons so that they can examine it elsewhere. The police must be cautious, they can only use these powers when it is necessary and that they do not get rid of any more material than needed. The removal of large volumes of material, much of it may not be ultimately retainable, this may have a serious implications for the owners, mainly when they are involved in business activities, for example journalism or the provision of medical services.

When the police use a power of seizure they have to give the occupier of the property or the person from whom the property is being seized with a written notice, this specifies:

* What has been seized under the powers conferred by the section

* The grounds for the powers

* Setting out the result of covering the grounds for a person with an interest in seized property to relate to a judicial authority for its return and the responsibility of the police to secure the property.

2. Identify the entry, search and seizure powers of the following government agencies with regards to businesses.

Health and safety inspectors

Health and safety inspectors work to look after people’s health and safety by making sure risks in the workplace are controlled. They may possibly enter your work premises at any time. Also, they could also visit the workplace after an accident that may have been caused by the work activities. For example, a person will have a responsibility under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 to report and to keep record of certain types of incident or accident at work. Later on they will be looking to examine the causes of the accident and to find out if there has been a violation of health and safety law.

Inspectors have the power to take certain actions, including:

* carrying out investigations and examinations, as well as taking measurements, photographs and tests

* seizing and making secure any article or substance that might cause serious personal damage

* inspecting and copying documents

If the inspector thinks that you are breaking the health and safety law or the activities is a serious risk, then they can issue an informal notice, this can be done, either verbally or in writing, they could provide an improvement notice or if they want then they could possibly prosecute the company or individuals.

Accident inspectors

An Accident inspector knows of any injuries, diseases or dangerous incidents under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

The information you must keep on accidents include:

* the date and time of the accident or dangerous incidents

* if the accident has occurred to someone at work, their full name and employment

* if the accident happened to someone not at work, the information of the injured person, including full name and status.

* the place where the accident or dangerous incident has happened

* the date and method by which the incident was first reported to the enforcing authorities

VAT inspectors

Any business registered to pay VAT will need to deal with a VAT inspection during the first three years of registration. But, overdue payers and payment defaulters would be visited more often. Any business registered with VAT will face regular inspections. The VAT inspectors will hold the examination at a business premises as they will want to ensure that they are being used, are fit, for business use and that they will want to be aware of how the business works.

VAT inspections will want you to give a large number of business records and supporting documentations. Documents such as listed below are available for inspection:

* sales invoices

* delivery notes

* import and export documentation

* annual accounts

* bank statements

* till receipts

Pollution inspectors

The pollution inspectors examine the complaints about pollution from the business premises. They are in charge of enforcing the legislation and evaluating the environmental impacts of planning applications. They often go out to businesses and they carry out examinations they also ensure to see whether or not the businesses are obeying. At times the police officer issues and monitors authorisation for the business, which sets the limits for pollutants.


A person who is suffering from an injury in an accident is expected to have a legal entitlement to damages compensation. However if it can be proved that the accident was caused completely or partly by the carelessness of another person in the workplace.

Financial loss

Financial loss protects individuals and businesses against different financial risks. For example, a company might purchase cover to keep it from loss of sales. If a fire in a business prevented it from carrying out for a certain time. Insurance could also cover failure of a creditor to pay money that it owes to the insured.

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