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Owners and Employees Criminal Law Assignment
Owners and Employees Criminal Law Essay
The general legal principle of criminal law is that for an individual – both artificial and natural persons – to be found guilty of a crime or an offense, both actus reus and mens rea must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The mens are refers to the mental element of the offense or the guilty mind, such as intention, knowledge, or any other state of affairs and mental condition while actus reus refers to the guilty conduct, act, or omission of a defendant. However, in certain offenses such as those involving defective, harmful, or dangerous product liability is claimed, the doctrine of strict liability applies.
Under the strict liability principle, an individual or organization is held legally responsible their actions, omissions, or activities even where there is no criminal intent or actual fault on their part (Wilkinson, 2003). The rationale behind the rule is that in such cases where one produces products that are harmful to consumers or to the environment, public policy dictates that it is only fair for such persons to be held responsible irrespective of whether or not they were at fault or developed an intention.
From the facts, it is provided that some of the eggs that were being sold by EGGS R US, corporation owned by John and Mary, were tainted by Salmonella and that 500 people became very ill from eating the eggs. It is further provided that the Food and Drug Act makes companies and individuals responsible for selling adulterated food strictly liable. Hence, here, the legislature has dispensed with the requirement of actus reus on public policy grounds. Hence, the company is guilty since the employees who failed to properly maintain or clean one of the chicken coops may properly be considered as agents of the company and hence the company should be guilty of their omissions. However, the liability is not based on vicarious liability which only applies in civil rather than criminal conduct unless where the legislature has specifically stated so (Wilkinson, 2003). According to a US Circuit Court in United States v. Bank of New England (1987), a company can be held criminally liable even for the acts of its employees or agents.
If an employee has sent a note telling John and Mary that some of the employees were not doing their job well, this is not criminal per se since employees have a duty to whistle blow or inform their employers of any issue that happens in the workplace and which borders on the health and safety of the employees and the products being made...................GET A PLAGIARISM FREE COPY