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

Critically evaluate the law on intention as part of mens rea

Extracts from this document...


Critically evaluate the law on intention as part of mens rea By Rebecca Haworth The mens rea is the Latin for guilty mind and refers to the state of mind of the accused at the time the actus reus is committed. Intention is a subjective concept; what the actual defendant was thinking at the time of the offence as opposed to objective which is what a reasonable person would have thought in the same position. Intention is the highest form of mens rea and an example of this is in the case of theft. The mens rea of theft is intention to deprive someone of property permanently. Without the intent to take the property the defendant is not guilty of the crime. This is shown in the case of Madeley where he was able to show that he was suffering from stress and merely forgot to pay for the goods and he was found not guilty. ...read more.


of jury 'shall not be bound by law to infer that a defendant intended or foresaw result of his or her actions by reason only of its being a natural and probable consequence of those actions'. It also requires the jury to refer to 'all the evidence, drawing such inferences from the evidence as appear proper in the circumstances'. This wording makes the test subjective, whether the defendant saw it as probable and this has been the subject of several cases over the last 20 years. The Moloney case (1985) is one of the leading cases on this subject. This case brought the 2 stage test which asked whether the death or serious injury was a natural consequence of the defendants act and whether the defendant foresaw the consequence as being the natural consequence of his or her act. The problem with these tests is that that they assume that the consequence is virtually certain if it is a natural consequence. ...read more.


The court provided a standard direction for the jury as to intent in a murder trial in all cases of oblique intent. This direction was confirmed and the Jury must now consider to questions which are; was death or serious bodily harm a virtual certainty? Did the defendant appreciate that such was the case? If the answer to both of these questions is 'yes' then the jury may find intent. Problems could occur with the decision in Woolin as Lord Steyne seemed to regard foresight of consequences as the same as intention and not merely evidence of it as was stated in Moloney. This contradiction adds a great deal of confusion on this point. In conclusion when looking at the law of intent as a part of mens rea it is important to distinguish between oblique intent and direct intent. Whilst direct intent is fairly straight forward, however this is not the case in oblique intent. When looking at oblique intent, as was made clear in Woolin, the defendant's knowledge is an important factor. ...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

    Critical evaluation of murder for A2 law unit 4

    3 star(s)

    However, if self defences sentences were made more lenient, more murder cases may use it is as a defence if they think there actions may result in a lot lower sentence. It may then be overused, and more people who obviously are murders may get off more lightly than they really should.

  2. Using Cases to illustrate your points critically, decribe the Homocide Act 1957 and include ...

    Two types of intention need to be discussed - Direct intention refers to the direct aim or purpose of a D's act, Oblique or indirect intention is where the D does not have a direct aim or purpose but is aware that harm is virtually certain.

  1. aqa law module 4 murder mens rea

    He also observed that for the less crime of attempted murder which can be reduced to manslaughter, "nothing less than intention will suffice". Then a further cogent critic of malice aforethought is the issue provided by lord steyn in r-v-powell when he said of this rue was turned "murder into

  2. The justifiable use of force in self-defence depends entirely upon the circumstances in which ...

    He was allowed the defence as Lord Milmo said "it can amount to a lawful excuse for a threat to kill if the threat is made in the prevention of crime or for self-defence, provided it is reasonable in the circumstances to make such a threat".

  1. Explain the meaning of Actus reus and mens rea

    The treatment was held as palpably wrong and it was independent of the Ds act. If the intervening act is reasonably foreseeable then the D is still liable as in R v Pagett where it was reasonably foreseeable that the police would shoot back at Pagett.

  2. 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.

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