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Our case study begins: a night in town

Animated video of crime incident
It is another mild Summer evening. People are out enjoying themselves. The pubs and bars do a brisk business on nights like this, and, as midnight comes around, the queue to get into LoudSounds nightclub is growing. Joe Brydon is 25. He’s been out drinking with his friends at the Town Bar. They are on their way to LoudSounds. There are so many people there that it is a bit hard to tell where the end of the queue is. When Joe and his friends arrive in high spirits there are complaints from nearby that they are pushing in. Tension rises as angry words are exchanged between one of Joe’s friends called Alan Riley, and another man in the queue, Derek Simpson.
The door staff at LoudSounds intervene – as they see it, Alan, Joe, and their friends are the troublemakers. They are told to go away and that they won’t be getting into LoudSounds tonight. They go back to the Town Bar and carry on drinking. Alan is angry. “We need to sort that idiot out”, he says. Joe and the others nod and murmur. So, two hours later, Joe and his friends are waiting around the corner from LoudSounds – looking out for Derek Simpson. Simpson leaves the club about 2am. When he comes round the corner, he’s surrounded by the group.
He tries to run through them, but Alan Riley punches him to the ground, sits on his chest and continues to strike him about the head. Everybody is shouting - soon there is a crowd, and then the police arrive. The group scatters. An ambulance is called for Derek. Joe has been recognised by someone in the crowd – it’s a small town. It doesn’t take long before he’s stopped by the police in a nearby street.

Now that we have spent some time thinking about what ‘crime’ is, we are going to turn our attention to tracking an allegation of criminal behaviour through the criminal justice system.

We are going to follow Joe’s story. It begins on a night out in town. Watch this short film and see what happens.

Don’t worry about what the relevant law is in this context – we will look at that in due course. But what do you think might be the key issues in the film for determining whether Joe might have committed a criminal offence?

Discuss your ideas with your colleagues.

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From Crime to Punishment: an Introduction to Criminal Justice

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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