Principles of Criminal Law Assignment – Australia.

Unit Title : Principles of Criminal Law
Assessment Type :- Assignment
1.You are a first-year solicitor Lydia Kettle working in the law firm of Costa Almond Legge. One Friday afternoon you get back to your office at 5:00 pm after having been at the Magistrates Court all day negotiating the terms of an intervention order for a client.Awaiting you is the following email from one of the firm’s partners.(Please note that all the events here happen in an alternative world that is more or less just like our own but has never heard of the coronavirus.)
Principles of Criminal Law Assignment – Australia.

Principles of Criminal Law Assignment - Australia.

From: xxx, partner
To: xxx, solicitor
Subject: Criminal charges against xxx (client)

I want you to provide me with a legal advice concerning a new client, Ms XXX D Angelo 27 years of age. She has been charged with one count of common assault (contrary to s 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)) and one count of conduct endangering persons (contrary to s 23 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).The complainant in relation to both charges is her neighbour Viktor Van Vleuten 43 years of age.

XXX received the charge and summons from the police two weeks ago. I had an initial conference with her this morning at our office and have read through the various witness statements and her record of interview with the police in the prosecution’s brief of evidence. Everything she told me in our conference is consistent with what is in the brief of evidence. I’ve summarised the evidence for you below.

What I would like you to do is write a preliminary legal advice for me on the strength of the prosecution case against XXX in relation to each of the two charges.Please have your memorandum of advice to me by 11:59 PM on Monday 28 March.Just base it on the summary of the evidence below. Keep it concise, no more than 1500 words.

Make sure you address all the elements for both charged offences and please identify the relevant legal authorities and consider any applicable defences. Don’t worry about any other possible offences or alternative verdicts. We can think about any of those later.

In relation to the assault charge I’m wondering whether the case of Collins v Wil cock [1984] 1 WLR 1172 might be relevant to a defence. Please address that case in the course of your memorandum. Of course if other cases and statutory provisions are relevant cite those too where appropriate.

XXX works as a confectioner for an artisanal chocolatier in Lilydale. She lives with two other friends in a share house in Moorool bark. She is also a part-time honey-maker and keeps a small colony of bees in her backyard. XXX produces a small amount of honey every few months which she sells (usually only for a very small profit) at a local farmers’ market. The bees are a rare breed Andalusian are renowned for their intelligence their aggression when agitated and their very rich and nutritious honey. It is also a little-known fact that the Andalusian mountain bee has no sting. It has been postulated by melittologists that the Andalusian bee’s unusual aggression is an evolutionary compensation for its lack of a stinger.

Viktor lives next door to XXX. He frequently holds loud parties which keep XXX and her house mates a wake and agitate XXX’s bees. XXX has gone to Viktor’s door on several occasions in the last couple of months to ask him to keep the noise down at his parties. But he has just ignored her and slammed the door shut in her face. Twice she has had to call the police to come and tell Viktor to keep the noise down. Also, when she saw him at the local convenience store a couple of weeks before the events in question and she tried to talk to him he just ignored her and walked away.

On Saturday 5 th February this year just after lunch XXX left her house via the front door to go shopping. As she walked to her car which was parked in her drive way she saw Viktor walking past on the footpath. He later told police that he was walking to the local bottle shop to get some booze for a small party he had planned for later that day.

XXX decided to seize the moment and confront Viktor about his loud parties and demand that they had to stop. She waved at him to get his attention and called out ‘Viktor! We need to talk.’ Viktor glanced up at her but ignored her and just kept walking. He had headphones on and XXX could hear the loud music playing from 10 metres away. As Viktor walked away down the footpath XXX decided to take matters further and not accept being just ignored like this.

Viktor continued down the footpath on the way to the bottle shop. XXX walked up to about three metres behind him and called out ‘Hey Viktor! Listen we need to talk about your parties’. Viktor did not hear XXX and kept on walking.

XXX then walked quickly up to Viktor from behind and placed her right hand on his left shoulder pulling very gently not enough to actually impede his movement.As she did so she shouted loudly so that he might hear her over his music, ‘Viktor, stop! We really need to talk about your parties.’

Principles of Criminal Law Assignment – Australia.

Viktor was completely taken by surprise by XXXs actions. He jumped in fright when XXX’s hand touched him and span around. When he saw who it was he shouted ‘What the fuck are you doing XXX?’ He took his headphones off and glared at her.

XXX replied ‘We need to talk Viktor. About your damned parties. You just keep ignoring me. It’s not fair. You have to show some respect for your neighbours. And you are agitating my bees, which affects their honey production.’

Viktor just looked at her with angry contempt. ‘You can just piss off XXX,’ he said to her, very angrily. ‘I don’t give a fuck about you or your little shit insects. And if you lay a finger on me again, I’ll report you to the police’. He then stormed off, leaving XXX fuming in an impotent rage.

Later that afternoon a few of Viktor’s friends came over for some beers and a barbecue. He put some speakers on the back porch and cranked up the music playing a mix of his favourites: Metallica Meshuggah, and Meghan Trainor.

At 7:15 pm, after three hours of loud music XXX decided to teach Viktor a lesson. She prepared a special mixture of ginger and paprika to use in her bee smoker. With this mixture the bees become angry, not calm. She went out to her backyard and used the smoker on the hive. The bees duly became riled up and started buzzing loudly and aggressively. XXX then cut a small branch from the apricot tree in her backyard and waved it in front of the hive. Her bees were attracted to the apricot blossom and followed the branch as XXX marched up to the fence and threw the branch over the fence and onto Viktor’s back porch.

Principles of Criminal Law Assignment – Australia.

Viktor was sitting on the back porch with two friends enjoying his 8 th beer for the day and tapping his toes to the music when the apricot tree branch landed right at his feet. He saw where it had come from. He got out of his deckchair and picked up the branch. He was about to throw it back over the fence when a swarm of about 100 angry bees came buzzing over the fence and flew around Viktor. Viktor tried swatting at the bees with the branch but that just seemed to make the bees angrier. He was very frightened, dropped the branch onto the porch and ran for his backdoor. His two mates had already gone straight into the house when they saw the bees. Viktor managed to get inside his house without any bees following him. He slammed the door shut and broke out in a cold sweat.

The next day Viktor went to the local police station and made a complaint about XXX, in relation to her accosting him in the street in the early afternoon and also in relation to the bees in the early evening.

In his statement to the police Viktor said, ‘I had no idea she was behind me when I was walking to the bottle shop. I had my headphones on and I got the fright of my life when she grabbed my shoulder and pulled on me.’

Principles of Criminal Law Assignment – Australia.

He admitted to the police that XXX did not use a very strong grip and her pulling motion was not very forceful. ‘But it was completely unexpected and made me jump,’he said.

In relation to the bees episode Viktor told the police that he was very frightened by the swarm of angry bees and was very fearful of being stung. He said had a bee allergy, and when he had been stung by a bee 20 years ago he had developed a rash and a swollen tongue, and had trouble breathing. He had not been stung by a bee since then and was not sure if he still had the bee allergy, but he was very worried at the time that if he got stung by XXX’s bees he would have an even worse reaction now that he was older and less fit and healthy.

Principles of Criminal Law Assignment – Australia.

Principles of Criminal Law Assignment - Australia.

The police subsequently questioned XXX at the station. She agreed that she had confronted Viktor in the street by placing her hand on his shoulder from behind and pulling slightly. ‘But,’ she said, ‘I was just trying to get him to stop and talk to me. He always just ignores me. I have the right to speak to him about his loud parties, but as he kept ignoring me every time I tried to talk to him, I had to do something to get his attention and make him stop and talk to me. I only very gently pulled on his shoulder not hard enough to physically stop him. I didn’t grip his shoulder with any strength. I mean, look at me — I’m five foot three inches tall and weigh 50 kg and he’s well over 6 foot and must weight close to 100 kg. It was just trying to get his attention. What else could I do when he has just flat out ignored me every time I tried to talk to him?’

Regarding the bees episode, XXX admitted to setting her bees onto Viktor. She gave the police gave a full account of her actions. ‘But,’ she added, ‘there was no actual risk of him being stung as my bees are Andalusian mountain bees and they have no stinger. They can make a lot of noise when they’re riled up, but they can’t actually do any real damage. I just wanted to give Viktor a little fright. I know it was pretty childish of me but I was just fed up with him and his utter bloody rudeness and selfishness.’

Three days later the police sent XXX a charge sheet with summons in the post.
The charge sheet contains one charge of common assault in relation to the confrontation with Viktor in the street and one charge of conduct endangering a person (in relation to sending the bees into Viktor’s backyard).

Principles of Criminal Law Assignment – Australia.

2.Having read the email from Ms xxx write your memorandum as requested.

3.With regard to Collins v Wilcock [1984] 1 WLR 1172 you should be able to use your budding legal research skills to locate this case through the Library’s online catalogue. (I would have put a PDF copy of it on LMS for you, but apparently this is not allowed for copyright reasons, so you must find it for yourselves.)

4.Just a reminder then as to the steps to take to find this case:
 Go to the Library’s law page
 Click on ‘Online Case Law’.
 Click on ‘Q-Z’.
 Click on: ‘WLR’.
 Click on ‘1984’.
 Search for ‘Collins v Wilcock’.
 When the result comes up, click on [1984] 1 WLR 1172.
 You will now see the text of the case.
 To get a PDF copy of the original reported version, click on the download icon toward the top right of the screen.