1)Date of article and name of newspaper
Woman jailed for church stabbings is found in The Herald Sun Newspaper on the 29th of January 2004.
2)Outline facts of case
Susan Sewell is a 46 year old homeless woman who occasionally sleeps on the steps of the Collins Street Baptist Church
On the night of August 27th 2002, a Musica Viva chamber music concert was being setup and Susan got asked to move from the church steps
She did as the workers asked and left the church steps without hesitation
About 40 minutes later, she entered the church and said hello, as concert singers and band members came
After saying hello, she stabbed a staff member in the abdomen the approached a ticket seller and stabbed her in the back
Sewell was then confronted by Mr. Burch, host of ABC 774s Sunday show, who asked her to drop the knife, twice
Mr. Burch was then stabbed by Sewell in the lower abdomen
Bystanders then subdued her as police were contacted
Sewell has no previous criminal or psychiatric history and said she had no memory of the stabbings
A court-ordered psychiatric report was unable to establish Sewells background or to diagnose a specific mental illness.
3)Classify in detail the incident as either criminal or civil
It is clear that the incident in this article is criminal for several reasons. Firstly,there are a number of terms, such as pleaded guilty and jailed which are only usedin criminal cases. Pleading guilty is a term used in criminal cases and is a pleagiven by the accused, who admits to the alleged offences, as opposed to a civil case, where a person is found liable or not liable. Jailed is also a term used incriminal cases and at times civil cases. However jailed terms in criminal cases areusually more severe, such as the incident in this article, with the jail term of twoyears as opposed to civil jail terms which usually consist of several months in jailwith community based services. In this case, the standards of behaviour were notmet, as three people were injured seriously and other bystanders were threatened.Due to this incident, it is the States responsibility to ensure that the standards of behaviour are met and that the criminal is punished for their wrong actions. The State is also responsible for protecting the society as a whole. Before hersentence, the court ordered psychiatric treatment but were unable to diagnose anymental illness. However, the accused pleaded guilty as the state imposed a penaltyof 42 months.
4)List and define any legal terms
County court An intermediate court situated between the Magistrates and
Supreme courts. It has both criminal and civil jurisdiction and
Pleading guilty A plea given by the accused in a criminal case admitting to the
Jailed A penalty usually given in criminal cases and at times civil. It is when
you serve time behind bars as your freedom is taken away.
Recklessly causing serious injury Causing serious injury in a manner showing
indifference to the consequences.
Sentence The sanction of a term of imprisonment handed down by a criminal
5)Describe the outcome and its purpose. What do you think? Why?
The outcome of this criminal case was a penalty of at least two years in jail for three counts of recklessly causing serious injury. There are several purposes for imposing criminal punishment such as rehabilitation, deterrence, retribution and protection. Rehabilitation, also known as reform is one of the most important out of the four. It aims to allow individuals to change their inappropriate behaviour, so that he or she may become a valuable member of society. An example of this is drug and alcohol programs which target offenders who require specialised treatment to prevent further criminal conduct. An increasingly crucial aspect is education as many prisoners have poor literacy skills. Deterrence has two effects when imposing a criminal punishment. Firstly, it deters others in society from committing that particular offence and secondly, to discourage the offender from continuing with a life of crime. Usually a severe punishment would give a stronger deterrence to both society and offender. The third factor is retribution, which is an expression of revenge on behalf of society, so that the offender is deemed to have suffered for his or her wrongdoing. The last factor is protection which is assured only through imprisonment. For the duration of their sentence, prisoners are not regarded as a threat to the community.
I think the outcome of the case is a fair trial but still needs more consideration. Not a lot of information is known about Susan Sewell as more should be found out about her. She should also be put through a few more psychiatric tests to see if she has any mental illness. After serving at least two years she should go through more psychiatric tests to see if she is capable of becoming a member of society again. Also during her sentence, she should do some community service and find some money for the medical bills of her victims.
1) Date of article and name of newspaper
Tears Flow as Victims of Legionnaires Disease Win Battle is found in The Age Newspaper on the 3rd of February 2004.
2) Outline facts of case
Mrs. Hilton, of Carrum Downs, was upset and fought over the death of the former lead plaintiff in action, Phyllis Patterson (father of Mrs. Hilton)
According to Mrs. Hilton, she is in intensive care for three weeks after being infected with Legionnaires disease.
Mrs. Hilton visited The Melbourne Aquarium in April 2000 with nine family members, many on holiday from England
Mrs. Hilton still suffers from lack of energy, fatigue, shortness of breath and depression.
Defendants in the case included a builder, architect, engineer, contractors and insurers
The damages action was brought in May 2000, after two people died and more than 60 were affected
The outbreak affected more than 170 people and four died directly from the disease.
Another 12 class action members had since died from conditions allegedly related to the disease
Their estates were included in the claim
The outbreak was sourced to the aquariums water cooling towers
The aquariums air-conditioning system was changed after the incident
All the victims of the outbreak had visited or were near the aquarium between April 11 and 27, 2000
3) Classify in detail the incident as either criminal or civil
In this article, it can be seen that the incident is civil, for several reasons. Firstly, there are a number of terms, such as fight for compensation and breaches of duty which are only used in civil cases. Compensation is a payment made to the winning party in a civil case designed to put them back into the same position they were in before the action arose. Breaches of duty is when an individual has not done all that is reasonable in order to ensure the safety of others who may be directly affected by their acts or omissions, they have breached their duty of care, in other words, the person acted carelessly. In this case, the standards of behaviour were not met, as around 200 people were affected and suffering, while 4 people died. It is the States responsibility to ensure that the standards of behaviour are met and that compensation is given to those who are suffering and affected by the disease. It is also the States responsibility to ensure that the victims and other individuals rights are protected. It is said that the compensation would end up in the millions but has not been finalized.
4) List and define any legal terms
Compensation A payment made to the winning party in a civil case
Defendant The party against whom a civil or criminal action is brought
Liability To owe something to another. If you owe something to someone
you have a liability to that person
Plaintiff A person who instigates civil proceedings against another or
against the state.
Causation of injury Person or action that causes injury
Breaches of duty When an individual has not done all that is reasonable in
order to ensure the safety of others who may be directly
affected by their acts or omissions
Adjourned To put off or postpone
5) Describe the outcome and its purpose. What do you think? Why?
The outcome of this civil case was compensation in the millions. The purpose of the outcome is to restore the parties involved, to their original position. In order to do so, the plaintiff normally seeks special damages or general damages, which are both forms of compensation. Special damages, is a sum of money paid out where the loss suffered by the plaintiff can be easily assessed. Special damages include costs such as hospital bills, medicine, doctors charges and loss of wages. General damages are losses which require estimates by a judge and jury. General damages include pedestrian injury in which estimates for pain and suffering may follow.
I think that the outcome is fair, as money is compensated to those who are suffering. However, I think more should be done for those who have lost a loved one, as they are irreplaceable.