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Instructions for Oral Assessment in Criminal Law

Details of the Oral Assessment

The oral assessment will be during the period indicated in your Assessment Timetable. You will be given details of your oral assessment by your Campus Assessment Team.

  • You have 10 minutes to make your presentation.
  • The examiner will stop you at 10 minutes if you have not already stopped.
  • The examiner will then have 10 minutes to ask you related questions.
  • You should not use visual aids, although you are at liberty to use whatever aides memoire you feel you need.
  • Where questions are sub-divided, candidates should not expect the sub-divisions necessarily to be of equal weight.

This examination comprises 60% of your final module mark.

The other 40% of your module mark is derived from a separate 45-minute Single Best Answer Question-style examination.

With the exception of SBAQ assessments, all assessments on the PgDL and on the Conversion Component of both MA Law programmes will be marked according to the Assessment Criteria. These can be found in the Assessments area of the Handbook module on ELITE.

The Assessment Criteria are set out in the Schedule.

You are a paralegal working in a Criminal Defence firm, Justice and Co. Your supervisor is representing Martha Fletcher who was charged, in January 20XX, with an offence of causing grievous bodily harm to Gino Pianosi. Martha has just been notified by the Crown Prosecution Service that the charge will be amended to one of murder as a consequence of Gino’s subsequent death.

  • An email from the supervisor to the paralegal [Document 1].
  • Statement from Ms Beatrice Matthews [Document 2].
  • Statement from Mr Roberto Pianosi [Document 3].
  • Extracts from audibly recorded interview of Martha Fletcher [Document 4].

Read through the documents carefully and advise Martha on her criminal liability for the death of Gino.

In the question and answer session, you will be asked follow-up questions on this quote:

“Why is it that a professionally imposed duty extended only as far as determining the best interests of a patient who could not consent, while the scope of the voluntarily assumed duty in Stone and Dobinson included the obligation to overrule the autonomous wishes of the ‘patient’?”

Euthanasia and death with dignity: still poised on the fulcrum of homicide - Hazel Biggs - Crim. L.R. 1996, Dec, 878-888.

  • the general rule in relation to omissions and the exceptions;
  • whether the law should impose liability for omissions; and
  • an evaluation of how the law of omissions impacts differently on medical professionals and other individuals when dealing with the terminally ill.

You will see from the statements attached (Documents 2, 3 and 4) that Martha was involved in an assault on her boyfriend, Gino Pianosi. Whilst at a New Year’s party, she had an argument with Gino after he tried to prevent her from consuming more alcohol. Martha accepts that she had been drinking all evening, in addition to taking cocaine and other drugs; indeed, she was so intoxicated, she has no memory of the incident at all.

According to the witness reports, Martha attacked Gino violently with a saucepan in the kitchen and, in an attempt to escape, he ran onto the balcony of their apartment. Martha pursued him and pushed Gino over the wall so that he fell onto the pavement below, suffering serious injuries. Some months later, Gino was taken to Switzerland by his father (a Swiss national), where he died by euthanasia. Although it is illegal in the United Kingdom to assist a suicide, it is not in Switzerland.

I would like you to advise me on the Martha’s criminal liability in relation to this matter.

Gino Pianosi was admitted to the ward where I am based as a consultant. He had been transferred from the intensive care unit of Cheltenham General Infirmary where he had been hospitalised for several weeks. Gino had sustained a fractured spine and he was paralysed from the neck down, so that he could not move any part of his body below the neck. As a result of his fall, his skull had also suffered extensive damage so he was unable to speak and could only blink. On arrival, Gino was clearly distressed as was apparent from the tears which were rolling down his cheeks; he was subsequently diagnosed with depression. Over the next three months, his condition worsened as he suffered a serious chest infection and his wounds also became infected. His injuries were such that there was no prospect of recovery.

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