Mens Rea and delegated legislation Alexandra StoicaMens rea: the guilty mind of the defendant
The difference between s18 and s20 of the Offences against the person act 1861 is the mens rea required. Mens rea must be distinguished from motive. Motive can be relevant in some crimes. Intention: can be direct or indirect (oblique)
Direct intention- this occurs where the consequence is the defendant’s aim or purpose. An example is Mohan 1976. The defendants deliberately attacked the victim. The resulting injury was the defendant’s main aim or purpose. Indirect intention- the defendant intended the act but not the consequences. An example is Woolin 1998. The defendant had no direct intention in killing his own son. This carried out a test: The consequence is a virtually certain result of the act, and The defendant knows that it is a virtually certain consequence. Recklessness: the level of mens rea lower than intention wherein the defendant knows there is a risk but goes ahead and takes it anyway. A type of recklessness that is used is subjective recklessness. This happens in the definition. An example is Cunningham 1957. It set out the essential definition of subjective recklessness which is used in the mens rea of many crimes. The mens rea of an offence is hard to prove.
Coincidence of actus Reus and mens rea
The general principle is that the actus reus and mens rea of a crime must occur at the same time. This is known as the contemporaneity rule. This means that the idea is that a person cannot be guilty of a crime if he or she performs an act that causes a previously desired result. The following cases show this are: Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1969: here, there was a continuing act, so there was coincidence of actus reus and mens rea when the mens rea was later formed Thabo Meli 1954: here, the mens rea formed for the first act continued over a series of acts and a consequence some days later....
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