Legal Methods and Systems in Criminology

In writing this research paper the first thing that I needed to determine is the branch of law that this case scenario pertained to, which I determined to be criminal law. In general terms, there are two ways in which the various forms of law can be divided: procedural law and substantive law1. Procedural law is concerned with the legal formalities that dictate the process of legal cases and the role of the court in enforcing that code. This element of law can be determined to be present in this case since the court will be required to adjudicate on issues of human rights and privacy that the appellant claims to have been violated. On the other hand, substantive law involves the type of laws that describes the specific nature of legal matters that are enforceable under the law which therefore encompass all forms of rights and obligations that a person might have a basis to claim. Under this type of law, there are three branches of law namely: criminal law, tort law, and contract law2. The branch of law that will be applicable in this case scenario as we shall later find out is criminal law.

After having established that, the next step that I needed to undertake was to identify the major issues of law that are central to this case scenario. Three issues are central to this case of R v. Ryan; issues pertaining to sexual offenses in general, the law pertaining to

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the rape of minors, and the concepts of mens rea and actus rea. Because this is basically a case of rape the applicable law is the , and more specifically as outlined in section 5 and section 13. This much, what the court needs to determine is whether the applicable law was appropriately applied in sentencing the defendant in the first place, and more importantly whether the appellant grounds for appeal on the judgment are valid.

The next step after having determined the legal issues that are required to be researched is to cross-check the facts of the case against the applicable law for purposes of determining whether the defendant was rightly sentenced. This exercise required me to peruse through all relevant literature written on sexual offenses laws, rape of minors as well as what the European Convention on human rights says about child human rights. This meant that I had to conduct a literature search for any written material or all of the issues that I had determined to be central to this case. Because of the vast nature of literature that is potentially written on sexual offenses, child human rights, and laws on the rape of minors, I had to devise a literature search plan that will generate for me the most concise results of what I was specifically looking for. This required me to come up with keywords for searching the literature resources that I needed to have in order to tackle this essay. Because I had already determined the central issues that needed to be investigated in this paper formulating keywords was not very challenging.

First I wrote down the major keywords that I needed to use in order to identify the general literature that I needed; these were laws on the rape of minors, mens rea, actus rea, Sexual Offences Act 2003, European Convention on Human Rights, consensual sex between minors and precedent court rulings on laws involving minors.

Relevant Materials

I relied on several search engines in my literature search of the relevant resource materials that I needed namely; google, and google e-book search engines. My initial search on google using any of these keywords gave me hundred of thousands of hits on relevant resource materials that I could potentially use in writing this research paper. However, Wiley online library which is one of the few with the best well-written refereed journal articles was able to give me a less number of relevant resources. The biggest challenge I had in tracing the relevant resources was while using the google search engine which was giving me hundreds of thousands of hits on all of the categories, for instance, the laws on the rape of minors keyword gave me 33,200,000 hits of articles written on the subject. For this reason, I had to refine my search by customizing the keywords I was using to search the resources this involved adding more relevant keywords in order to narrow down on my results without with the information that I needed.

Eventually, I settled on laws on the rape of minors and precedent rulings on cases, even though I still got more than 10000 hits with google I was able to get relevant resource materials that I could use in writing the essay by just reviewing several of the resources. Next stop I tried a search with Wiley online library which is one of the subscribed databases with the most recent publications on various disciplines. Luckily for me, Wiley does not have hundreds of thousands of to check from, for this reason, any keyword that I used to search relevant literature just gave me 2000 hits at most. The search engine for Wiley online library is very much like that of Google and usually highlights all articles with the keywords entered, so to find the most relevant publications on this subject one needs to enter as many relevant keywords as necessary and run a search. The generated resource material that appears at the top of the page are the ones with the best fit, it even has a feature that lets you rank the results based on the best match which was very handy during this process. By the end of my search for resource materials, I was able to zero in on four articles from the google search engine that I identified as most relevant and two journal articles from Wiley online library that were most pertinent in writing of this essay, all of which appears on the bibliography page.

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