: English for Law Students. 2 year. Part 2 - ( ..)


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Unit 7 crime stories


a) What irritating habits might provoke a partner or relative to


b) Do you think crimes of passion should be punished differently from crimes which are planned? Give reasons to support your idea.


B1. What do the following words from the article mean? Use a dictionary to help you and tick the correct answer.

row: a) a short angry argument

b) an agreement

mustard: a) hair that grows on a man's upper lip b) a yellow sauce with strong taste

impeccable a) perfect

b) disorganized

chore: a) a group of people who sing together

b) a small job that you have to do regularly

deteriorate: a) to become better b) to become worse

pent-up: a) suppressed, not released

b) energetic

untidiness: a) the trait of being messy b) the trait of being neat

flail: a) to wave arms or legs in an uncontrolled way b) to break off in small thin pieces

lenient: a) harsh, severe b) not strict

B2. While reading the text note down the answers to the following questions

a) How was the victim killed?

b) Why was the victim killed?

c) What was the victim like?

d) What is the accused like?

e) What was the punishment?

Mr Mustard is jailed

Mild-mannered Thomas Corlett, the houseproud husband who

strangled his wife after a row over a tube of mustard, was jailed for three years yesterday after denying murdering his wife. It took the jury just ten minutes to find the 58-year-old balding civil servant not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Corlett, described as a man of impeccable character, had gradually taken over the household chores during his 26-year marriage, including cooking and cleaning. After his wife became ill with asthma, their relationship had deteriorated. Medical witnesses at the trial said Corlett was like a houseproud housewife with a craving for perfection. A pent-up rage built up in him over his wifes untidiness. His wife started going on holidays with a friend, never asking if he wanted to join them and never telling him when she would be back. In 1985 she forgot to send him a birthday card for the first time. Five weeks later the trivial row over the mustard led to her death.

The snapping point came when the couple sat down to a supper of sausages, green beans and mashed potatoes at their home on December 12,

1985. On the spot on the table where he normally put his newspaper was a tube of German mustard. He moved it. His wife, Erika, 63, picked it up and slammed it down in its original place. During the quarrel Erika stood up and started flailing her arms. Corlett grabbed her by the throat and the couple fell to the floor. Corlett called an ambulance when she fell unconscious but minutes later Mrs Corlett was dead.

Defence counsel David Farrington handed over a glowing reference from Corletts boss. The barrister said that Corlett would be extremely unlikely to offend again, and asked for him to be sent home. Judge Jerald Butler accepted that Corlett acted out of character but said that he could not take the lenient course being urged upon him.

(from the Daily Mail)

B3. Now give the definitions of your own:

a) If you are a mild-mannered person, you .

b) If you are a houseproud husband (wife), you

c) If you provide a glowing reference, you

d) If you have household chores, you

e) If you act out of character, you

B4. Discuss the following:

1. Do you agree with the verdict of manslaughter for Mr Mustard?

2. Why do you think he was not accused of murder?

3. Do you think the law is too soft where domestic violence, such as the Mr Mustard case, is concerned?


C1. You are going to read some true stories about failed robberies. Each story has a piece of information missing. Work in pairs and deduce from the context what the missing information could be. Tell the class your ideas. Then check with the key.

Thick as thieves*

1. In Camarillo, California, a man went into a department store and took

several suits into a dressing room. He carefully snipped off the security tag from one suit and then put the suit on under his clothes. Rather than leave the security tag behind, thinking it would be found and used as evidence, (1)

. . He was grabbed by a store employee as he stepped out of the store.

2. A would-be robber had been casing a Boston bank for several days, waiting for just the right moment to commit robbery. He went through the customer line, and as he approached the teller's window, he produced a handgun and announced loudly "This is a holdup, nobody move!" Much to his unhappiness, the next five customers (2) .. . He quickly surrendered with no shots fired. He failed to notice the FBI Field Office two doors down.

3. A man walked into the corner store with a shotgun and demanded all of the money from the cash register. After the cashier put the money in the bag as instructed, the man demanded the bottle of Scotch he saw behind the counter. The cashier refused to hand over the Scotch because he did not believe the man was 21. The robber swore he was, but still the clerk refused. Finally, (3)

. . As soon as he left, the cashier called and gave the police the name and address of the man who had just robbed the store. The suspect was arrested two hours later.

4. A couple and their sleeping baby shared a table with a Spanish tourist outside the Museum of Modern Art imn New York. A few minutes after the couple left, the tourist realized that her handbag had been taken. The woman, noticing (4).. phoned the police and calmly waited for the thieves to return. They did indeed return ten minutes later and were promptly arrested.

5. In Louisiana a would-be criminal entered the bank and held it up for several thousand dollars. In an attempt to quickly escape, the man ran into a glass door. Though he made it out, he left half of his mask behind on the door. (6) . . The suspect was arrested a few minutes later, half of his face still covered in shaving cream.

-----------------------------------------------------------------Thick as thieves is an idiomatic expression which means to be very close or friendly, but here it is used as a play on words because the thieves in these situations were thick (stupid).


D1. Supply the text below with missing words.

Surveillance; darkness; departments; visual; rooms; telephone; listening

Surveillance technology

The two main types of surveillance require either (1)

devices or (2)

instruments. Electronic eavesdropping may be defined as intercepting conversations without the knowledge or consent of the participants. The most

commonly used form is wiretapping, the interception of (3)

messages. Tapping telephone lines has been done by police (4)

or telegraph since

the 1890s. Today it is not necessary to break into telephone lines. Tiny radio transmitters made of microcircuits can be inserted into telephone receivers.

Such transmitters called bugs can also be concealed in (5)

in telephones.

instead of

Binoculars, telescopes, cameras with telephoto lenses, closed-circuit television, and video tape recorders are the main devices used for visual (6)

. Closed-circuit television has become widely used by police and private security systems. Devices requiring only a low light level have greatly enhanced night surveillance. There are low-light-level television systems and night-vision telescopes that function in virtual (7) .

D2. Choose the correct item

A crime is defined as such 1 (by/in/with) law. This first principle of legality

is the 2 (keynote/keystone/framework) of criminal law. The principle directs that laws defining offenses be clear and 3 (strongly/strictly/toughly) interpreted. And it forbids the 4 (approach/use/application) of the law

retroactively, meaning a law must 5 (be/have been/to be) in effect at the time the act was committed. The United States Constitution forbids the passing of

6 (that/which/what) are called ex post facto laws those that would make some act a crime that was not illegal when done or that increase the punishment for crimes 7 (previously/before/beforehand) committed. Legal systems traditionally do not allow double jeopardy, 8 (mean/to mean/meaning) prosecuting someone more than once for the same offense. It is possible 9 (at/in/on) times for an individual to be tried for essentially the same act in two different jurisdictions, or areas of authority. In the United States a person may be tried 10 (with/for/of) murder in a state court and 11 (later/latter/after) tried for the violation of the victim's civil rights in a federal court.


E1. 1) Match the headlines from a local newspaper with the first lines of their stories.






a) 80-year-old Marianne Roberts had her house broken into and some money and jewellery stolen while she was asleep in front of TV last night.

b) An increasing number of young people are getting involved in criminal activity according to a report published yesterday.

c) So many cars have recently been stolen in the city that the police are launching a special campaign to tackle the problem.

d) Small-scale robberies remain a significant problem in this area and police are concerned that the problem may soon become more serious.

e) A number of TV celebrities have been named as having attended a party where illegal drugs were being widely used.

2) Choose one story and write a short paragraph for a local newspaper providing more details.


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