POLICE POWERS 1
Elton and David stand accused of having committed offenses under thePublic Order Act 1986. Elton is under investigation for being inbreach of section 5 while David is liable under section 3.Nevertheless, both defendants could plead their innocence due tomitigating circumstances.
Elton could plead guilty to the charge. In this case, he would besubjected to a summary conviction with a fine below the third levelon the standard scale (Ashworth, Zedner, & Tomlin, 2013). Sincethe accused bears the burden of proof, Elton would be required toprove his innocence (Ashworth & Horder, 2013). Elton couldprovide evidence to show that he was indeed a law lecturer. Thiscould quash any suspicions that Elton was a low-life delinquent. Hecould also provide evidence to show that he was indeed returning homefrom a rehearsal at a local drama. Furthermore, Elton could providethe drama production`s script to show the character he had played andthe costumes designated for that character. Inevitably, theprosecution would file his confiscated costumes as evidence.Therefore, Elton should be prepared to explain the significance ofeach piece of clothing along with emblazoned messages. Since he wasplaying a member of a biker gang, Elton could argue that his leatherjacket, bandana, biker boots, and ripped jeans were all part of thecharacter. Elton could also highlight that he had been cooperativewith the search given the prevailing circumstances.
The encounter with the law-enforcement officer presents severalmitigating factors that Elton could cite in his defense. For example,P.C. Curley was not immediately identifiable as a police officer.This is because he was not dressed in official police gear. Also,P.C. Curley did not identify himself as a law-enforcement officer(Hart, 2012). He only demanded to know Elton’s name and hismovements. As such, Elton was justified to exercise his rights tosafeguard personal details from a stranger (Klug, Starmer, &Weir, 1996). Incensed, P.C. Curley proceeded to search Elton’s bagand frisk him. Granted, P.C. Curley supposed that Elton seemed to fitthe description of a thief in the neighborhood. Motivated by thiserroneous view, P.C. Curley searched through Elton’s boots, combedthrough his hair, and finally ordered him to remove his jacket.
Elton was apprehended due to the slogan on his shirt that depicted apolice officer being shot. Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986imputes a guilty verdict if a person uses or displays a writing orvisible presentation (Public Order Act). However, the depiction hasto be construed as insulting, threatening, or abusive to anotherparty (CPS). Although the slogan on the shirt was used withoutintention to cause distress, alarm, or harassment, it had nonethelessbeen worn in a public place. Therefore, Elton has to prove that hecould not have imagined that another person within sight or hearingwould suffer distress, alarm, or harassment (Thornton, 1987). Eltoncould also argue that a jacket had covered the shirt. The slogan onlybecame visible after P.C. Curley commanded him to remove his jacket.Besides, Elton walked home late at night when most people wouldeither be indoors or asleep. In this regard, he could not havereasoned that a person within sight or hearing would spot the slogan,let alone be harassed, distressed, or alarmed (Smith, 1987). SinceElton had been playing a member of a biker gang, he could also arguethat wearing the shirt was a reasonable act.
David left the house after hearing the commotion caused by thealtercation between P.C. Curley and Elton. As the legal spouse ofElton, David felt inclined to protect his loved one. At the time,David sincerely thought that Elton had been confronted with aroadside burglar. In the heat of the moment, David attempted to hitthe assailant with the rolling pin in his hand. It is noteworthy thatDavid had been using the rolling pin in the kitchen before leavingthe house. Nevertheless, the attempted strike failed to cause anydamage. P.C. Curley dodged the strike and instead managed to subdueDavid with a flying kick.
Pending his arraignment, David has several options for legalrecourse. For example, he could choose to plead guilty. Filing aguilty plea would lead David to face a summary conviction.Consequently, he would be incarcerated for less than six months. Astatutory fine could also be imposed during a summary conviction(Ashworth, Zedner, & Tomlin, 2013). On the other hand, Davidwould risk a guilty verdict in case he elected to contest the chargeof affray. In this respect, David could face three possiblejudgments. First, he may be sentenced to a maximum of three years inprison. He could also be subjected to a fine instead of the prisonterm. Both punitive measures could also be applied simultaneously.Nonetheless, the fines imposed by the court would consider David’sfinancial state and his ability to service the charge (Parpworth &Pollard, 2006). Granted, pleading guilty to the offense would notpreclude David from acquiring a criminal record. Nevertheless, Davidcould plead with the court to use its discretion by not convictinghim of the crime.
Other penalties could also be applied in the event David is foundguilty of affray. Home detention is a possibility whereby David wouldbe confined to his house. Furthermore, his movements would bestrictly monitored using an electronic device (Hart, 2012). The courtalso has the mandate to impose counseling, curfews, or communityservice (Parpworth & Pollard, 2006). In the event where Davidwould be imprisoned for less than two years, he could be liable for asuspended sentence. In this instance, his good behavior would keephim out of jail during the intervening period (Davis, 2009). Also,probation officers may be tasked to ensure that David attended ananger management course or any other form of community service deemednecessary by the court.
However, given the circumstances, David has a reasonable chance ofbeing acquitted of all charges. If the prosecution bore the burden ofproof, the police would be required to prove several factors so as toacquire a guilty plea. For example, it would need to be proven thatDavid used violence towards P.C. Curley. It would also be necessaryto show malicious intent on the part of David. Besides, David’sactions should be adjudged to cause a person of reasonable firmnessto be concerned for their safety. P.C. Curley also needs to show thatDavid acted without lawful excuse.
Based on these points of reference, David could mount severaldefenses against affray. First, he could argue that he neitherintended to use nor threaten violence. The rolling pin occurredcoincidentally in his hands since he had been preparing a pie in thekitchen. In any case, P.C. Curley had not suffered any physical harm.David could also argue that an average person would not have fearedfor their safety since the rolling pin was hardly a lethal weapon.Also, David can argue that his actions were in defense of his legalpartner. Since he acted in the heat of the moment, his actions couldhardly be labeled as spiteful or premeditated (CPS). Raising suchlines of defense would enhance the chances of David being acquittedof all charges.
Ashworth, A. & Horder, J. (2013). Principles of criminal law.Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Ashworth, A., Zedner, L., & Tomlin, P. (2013). Prevention andthe limits of the criminal law. Oxford, United Kingdom: OxfordUniversity Press.
Davis, H. (2009). Human rights law. Oxford, United Kingdom:Oxford University Press.
Hart, H. L. A. (2012). The concept of law. Oxford, UnitedKingdom: Oxford University Press.
Klug, F., Starmer, K., & Weir, S. (1996). The three pillars ofliberty: Political rights and freedoms in the United Kingdom.London: Routledge.
Parpworth, N. & Pollard, D. (2006). Constitutional andadministrative law. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford UniversityPress.
Public Order Act 1986. Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved fromhttp://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1986/64
Smith, A. T. (1987). The offences against public order: Includingthe Public Order Act 1986. London, United Kingdom: Sweet andMaxwell.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Public Order Offencesincorporating the Charging Standard. CPS.GOV.UK. Retrievedfrom http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/public_order_offences/
Thornton, P. (1987). Public order law: Including the Public OrderAct 1986. London, United Kingdom: Financial Training.