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Evaluation of criminal law: Dishonesty offences

Introduction
In order to maintain social cohesion, the criminal justice system must be able to adapt, expand and create laws to catch conduct that may have not been an offence in previous generations. This is shown in the repeal of ‘larceny’ and its subsequent ad hoc statutory offences to the replacement of a collection of dishonesty offences, known as ‘theft and its satellites’. This meant the laws were now capable to extend to conduct that neither threatened nor violated property rights, included the dishonest acquisition or imposition of intangible benefits and detriments and encompassed the mere usurpation of rights beyond ‘taking and carrying away .’ This commonality further extended to the replacement of obtaining property by false pretences to deception and its subsequent offences, dishonest dealing with documents , dishonest manipulation of machines and exploitation . Such expansion, however, brings forth concerns of indeterminacy, broadness and vagueness rather than uniformity and commonality. Hence, this essay will explore whether deception and two of its subsequent offences are principled and justified in an increasingly over-criminalised society.

Dishonest dealing with documents
This offence was dramatically condensed and simplified from the old law of forgery and related frauds. There must be an actual or projected deception involving a document, with the intention of causing a benefit or detriment to another person. This means the mere physical element of ‘dealing’ either by engaging in the creation or falsifying of a document or possession of such a document with the fault element of ‘intention’ to deceive, exploit, manipulate or cause benefit or detriment is sufficient enough to satisfy prosecution. Th...

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...to consideration the criminal law principles. The first offence explored provides a clear reconciliation with the ‘central model of criminal responsibility’ and in fact is paramount to satisfy ‘fair labelling’ in the interest of the offenders and prospective employers. The second offence appears to satisfy the ‘harm principle’ and is integral as it provides social cohesion and encompasses the progression of an ever-technological society. It also aims to remind potential offenders that such interruption with technology is a punishable offence. Hence, it appears that the laws expanded from the offence of deception , are principled within the criminal justice system. Not only does it prevent broadness, vagueness and indeterminacy but it arguable such offences provide depth, clarity and conciseness in order to outline acceptable standards of conduct within society.

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