This essay will breakdown for the average reader the different categories of both Actus Reus and Mens Rea using definitions as well as relevant examples. It will also seek to expound fully on the rules or exceptions to the general position: the coincidence of Actus Reus and Mens Rea is essential for establishing criminal liability.
To fully analyze criminal offences it must be divided into two parts. Firstly, the action, called Actus Reus, includes the acts or omissions, consequences and surrounding circumstances. Together these make up the physical elements of the crime.
Secondly is the Mens Rea, which loosely translate means ‘gulity mind’, comprises of intention, recklessness, gross negligence and knowledge. It refers to a number of states of mind and each state of mind has link to an ingredient to the Actus Reus or act.
Thus only together can the Mens Rea and the Actus Reus give rise to criminal liability. However, there are certain offences which defined by law do not require Mens Rea to be apart of the equation. These cases are referred to as crimes of strict liability.
When the prosecution can prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the defendant has satisfied the Actus Reus (the act) and the Mens Rea (the intention) of the alleged offence, only then can a criminal offence be committed. Until that, it is established law and practice that an individual is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
The act of murder, the most heinous crime of all, is expressed as the act of a man of sound memory, who is save and responsible and being the age of discretion, unlawfully kills someone with ‘MALICE AFORETHOUGHT’, either expressed by the party or implied by the law, where the wounded party dies within a year and a day of the same injury. For example, if Ben argues with Sam and tells him, “Watch it or I am going to kill you”, and then later Ben armed with a gun searches for and carries out his earlier threat causing Sam to die. The Mens Rea and Actus Reus...