Sunday, August 07, 2005

New Laws

I have been enjoying my time off from work and recently a thought popped in to my head - if I could create a new law then what law would I create? Our current Government has created something like over 600 new criminal offences since coming in to power, so one more offence would not cause any more trouble! This posting is supposed to be an attempt at humour so please bear with me.

I have thought fairly long about my choice of new crime, and after much thought I have come up with the offence of 'scuffling'. Of course there could be an aggravated version of the offence as well.

Drunk people, or youths, often get arrested for public order offences where it is suggested that their behaviour either constituted an affray or threatening words and behaviour. There is then another offence called disorderly conduct. In my opinion we need an offence that fits in the existing hierarchy between disorderly conduct and threatening words and behaviour, and perhaps 'scuffling' is just the right offence?

Scuffling could be committed either as a single individual or as a group whereby the actus reus was simply to be in a public place shouting and acting aggressively to cause another person concern - but not to think that immediate unlawful violence would be used. Instead the other person could be concerned that 'chav' like behaviour was going to erupt with loud swearing, jeering or just generally bad behaviour. The mens rea could be simply 'knowing that you were acting like a twat'.

I have not made up my mind what the maximum penalty should be, but considering it would sit between disorderly conduct that can only be fined, and threatening words and behaviour that can carry a prison sentenced perhaps scuffling could carry a maximum penalty of a community penalty.

Maybe all of this time off is getting to me?


mellowdaisy said...

LOL, I like it!

Anonymous said...

Surely a strict liability offence? So no mens rea.

thinblueline said...

Found commiting at least please :)

Gavin Whenman said...

This should definitely be a strict liability offence, with a higher sentence.
If found guilty, the defendant should be chased through the London Underground, pursued by 4 police officers. He would then be shot 8 times.
Should save a lot of Brazilian lives and provide cheap firearms practice for the Police Force.

Anonymous said...

All criminal offences should be abolished and replaced with the following four:

Being 'at it', and the aggravated version 'well at it' (offences of dishonesty, drugs etc)
Being 'out of order', and the aggravated version 'well out of order' (offences of violence)

Gavin said...

Interesting ideas, perhaps I should suggest that our Home Secretary turns them in to real laws? This is the kind of rubbish that the Home Office turns out anyway!

Anonymous said...

Trouble is that many such offenders don't know that they're behaving like a twat, so mens rea difficult to prove. Maybe it should be "Knowing that your mum would disapprove." On second thoughts the mothers are generally just as bad.

Wearing excessive amounts of polyester and low-value jewellery should be considered aggravating factors in any public disorder offence. Pity the poor lawyer with an allergy to man-made materials having to work in a magistrates court.