Criminal Law

The topic of criminal law is vital to the work of security guards who operate to prevent crimes form occurring, and who may need to execute a citizen's arrest. It is also relevant for other civilian law enforcers as their work may occasionally present a temptation to offend so as to achieve their objectives, or the risk of doing something that may have all the appearance of a crime. (An example would be the temptation for a surveillance investigator to trespass on private property).


The chapter on Criminal Law is still under construction!

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The overarching purpose of the Criminal Law is to punish that which is contrary to the interests of the Crown or State in terms of civil disorder or moral wrongs, or in terms of conflict with the affairs of state and of justice. Whereas civil law provides remedies such as payment of damages or obligation to fulfil agreements in the interest of a plaintiff, fines and prison sentences are the most obvious forms of imposition for a crime. The machinations of government are powerful, however, and it is not appropriate that a criminal prosecution should be as easy to run as a civil lawsuit. It is also desirable that criminal justice should come from a moralistic standpoint. Nor is it appropriate that the burdensome and reputation-rending effects of a prison sentence be imposed as easily as a ruling for damages. This legitimises that there be hurdles for the police and other government prosecutors to overcome which do not apply to a civil plaintiff. One is the need to prove the defendant’s intentionality in what they did. Another is that the case must be made out in evidence to the extent that reasonable doubt no longer exists.

Illegal acts can be addressed either by criminal law or by civil law. In particular, there is vast overlap between criminal law and the law of torts. One point of having both fields of law is that one benefits the victim more while the other, ostensibly, delivers justice against the perpetrator more effectively. It is easier for a plaintiff to win a civil suit, making it more appropriate when evidence is imperfect, or if the offender's level of intentionality is disputable, but it does little to punish the defendant/perpetrator if they are wealthy.