Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsPROFESSOR: Hungry Harry is walking down Average Avenue. He passes Fruity Francesca's house and front garden. Hungry Harry hasn't eaten for ages. He's really starving. He reaches over the fence and picks a peach from Francesca's peach tree. Has Harry committed a crime? Is the fact that Harry was starving a defense to any offense he may have committed? Fruity Francesca also has juicy grapes overhanging her fence onto the street. Hungry Harry picks a bunch of grapes from the vine. He thinks they must be everybody's property because it's on the street. Is Harry right? Fruity Francesca sees Harry picking her fruit and she's not very happy about it. She rushes to the gate to confront him.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 secondsHarry gets such a fright when Francesca rushes up to him that he spins around and pushes her away. She falls backwards and she dies. Will Harry be charged with something? Does he have any defense? Does it make any difference if Harry was intoxicated at the time?

Case study 2: Hungry Harry

Watch “Hungry Harry” for everyday examples that you may not think are a criminal offences.

Talking point

Within the Comments, consider sharing with other learners your thoughts on the situations faced by the characters in the case study:

  • Hungry Harry picks a peach from the overhanging tree. Has he committed a crime? Was the fact that Harry was starving a defence to any offence he may have committed?

  • Harry also picks a bunch of grapes. He thinks that they must be everyone’s property because it’s on the street. Is he right?

  • Startled, Harry pushes Francesca. She dies from the fall. Will Harry be charged with something? Does he have any defence? Does it make any difference if Harry was intoxicated at the time?


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This video is from the free online course:

Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law

Monash University