• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Criminal offences are usually defined in terms of a guilty act (actus reus) and a guilty mind(mens rea). Explain, using examples, how the law deals with (i) criminal omissions; (ii) strict liability.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

(a) Criminal offences are usually defined in terms of a guilty act (actus reus) and a guilty mind(mens rea). Explain, using examples, how the law deals with (i) criminal omissions; (ii) strict liability. (15 marks) To be guilty of a criminal offence you must be is possession of both actus reus and mens rea. In some cases however a person may be liable to failing to act this is known as an omission. Some Acts of Parliament create an offence of omission. For example failing to report a road traffic accident. For common law crimes an omission will only be liable for actus reus if they are under a duty to act. These duties include: * Relationship- e.g. parent/child relationship. Where parents have a duty to care for their child. R v Gibbons and Proctor 1918 where a father and his common law wife were guilty of murder when they starved their child to death. * Contract - if the person is under a contractual obligation. E.g. R v Pittwood 1902. * A duty arising from the accused's conduct- for example in R v Miller 1983 Miller accidentally started a fire in a squat but did nothing to stop the fire from spreading. * A duty arising form an official position- for example Police officers and some other are under a duty to protect the public. ...read more.

Middle

ii.)To be guilty of criminal offence this requires both of actus Reus and mens rea. However in some offences only actus Reus is required, these are known as strict liability offences. Illegal parking is an example of a strict liability offence. It can be that a person who parks on double yellow lines did not realise they have done so and so did not possess the mens rea. Recklessness does not need to be shown to convict someone of a strict liability offence. Other examples include trading standards, food safety and the sale of tobacco or lottery tickets to under age children. Statues do not always specify whether or not mens rea is required for a particular offence. However there are two general questions 'do the words used in the Act imply strict liability?' and 'is the offence really criminal or merely regulatory?' Do the words used in the Act imply strict liability? In the case of Gammon ltd v Attorney general of Hong Kong 1985 it was stated that even if an offence did not specify strict liability the words used might nether less indicate this. Criminal or regulatory it is well established that the courts should start from the presumption that all criminal offences require mens rea. However Lord Scarman stated that a distinction should be made between offences that are 'truly criminal;' and those that are concerned with an issue of 'social concern.' ...read more.

Conclusion

In some cases however it can be difficult to accept that the defendants' mens rea was anything other than intention. An example is Moloney 1985. A solider was having a competition with his father to load a shot gun. Moloney won and his father said go on then shoot it and he shot it at him, instantly killing him. Moloney then said. 'I never conceived that what I was doing might cause injury to anybody. It was just a lark.' However some may say that instinctively he must have known that that would happen to his father.' Willow Mentos AS Law Andrew Proctor Word Count: 1, 436 Reg believed that Jack had given a statement about him to the police. He was furious about this and went to Jack's house. Jack was asleep in a chair in the garden. Reg went up to Jack, knocked him unconscious with a cosh and then cut out his tongue. (a) Criminal offences are usually defined in terms of a guilty act (actus reus) and a guilty mind(mens rea). Explain, using examples, how the law deals with (i) criminal omissions; (ii) strict liability. (15 marks) (b) Taking into account both actus reus and mens rea, discuss Reg's criminal liability for the attack on Jack. (10 marks) Please include an essay plan at the start of your answer, as these can be used to give you marks in an exam if you don't manage to finish your answer. It's just good practice, people! ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Criminal Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Criminal Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    English law does not normally impose liability for an omission or failure to act ...

    4 star(s)

    to act, But as they are getting paid to do a job they should be trusted to fulfil their duty and therefore be liable for their mistakes. The second category of omission is duty of care under a professional duty to act.

  2. Free essay

    Jury and Magistrate Exam Questions

    The concept of a perverse verdict is one that pervades the Criminal Justice System of nearly all common law jurisdictions. The English Criminal Justice System is no exception and the concept has become institutionalised as if it were a true occurrence.

  1. Explain what is meant by the term 'causation' in criminal law and assess how ...

    However, should religious grounds be enough to make the defendant liable for the consequence and not just the act committed? Here, the case of Deer could be relevant, as the defendant was still guilty even though the victim?s acts could have saved their life.

  2. Nina runs a burger bar. She puts up a sign in the window saying ...

    principle determinant of criminal liability given the other key elements being so wide. However, the Fraud Act 2006 contains no definition of 'dishonesty'. The Law Commission and Home Office intend that the Ghosh test, not Section 2 of the Theft Act 1968, should apply, and the Law Officers confirmed this in Parliament.

  1. The regulations on arrest and detention of offenders under the Police and Criminal Act ...

    This therefore, still creates an imbalance between the suspect?s rights and police power[8]. In recent years, there have still been numerous miscarriages of justice in which if the guidelines of PACE were adhered to then the miscarriages of justice would never have occurred.

  2. 'Law should encourage citizens in their civic duty to do "the right thing" in ...

    He then went into the adjacent room and slept in there whilst the fire continued. He was convicted of arson. There are some exceptions to these duties, however, as doctors are not liable if they decide to discontinue treating patients in their own interest.

  1. List and explain the six most important cases for the law on insanity, explaining ...

    Clarke (1972) The first element of the M?Naghten rules is that the defendant must have suffered from a ?defect of reason?. It is not clear what the exact meaning of these words are. Using just a simple English dictionary, it appears that defect of reason means a deficiency of motive or mind.

  2. Strict Liability. I shall look at different cases in order to justify whether the ...

    Therefore, courts are likely to apply a strict liability offence where an offence is not ?truly criminal? on the basis that a criminal conviction is unlikely to stigmatise the individual. However, where it is a ?truly criminal offence? the courts are more unwilling to infer strict liability because of the stigma attached to a criminal conviction.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work