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

Discuss the extent to which the courts insist that all crimes require both an actus reus and a mens rea

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the extent to which the courts insist that all crimes require both an actus reus and a mens rea ( 25 marks) It is presumed that all offences require an Actus Reus (guilty act) and a Mens Rea (guilty mind). However, it is possible for some offences to have an actus reus only. These are called strict liability crimes. Within this group of crime, is absolute liability where not only the mens rea not need be there, but also the actus Reus doesn't have to be voluntary. In Larsonneur (1933) a French National was deported from England to Northern Ireland. However, the Irish authorities would not let her stay so she was reported back to England, where she was arrested. Similarly in the case of Winzar V Chief Constable of Kent (1983), the Defendant was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed as being drunk, he was told to leave the hospital but fell asleep in a corridor. The police were called and walked him to the highway where they arrested him for being drunk on the highway. In the case of Pharmaceutical Company for Great Britain V Starkwain (1986) the pharmacist dispensed drugs from a forged prescription. ...read more.

Middle

One of the four Gammon question to ask is: does the statue through the words used imply that it is strict liability? This basically means do the words 'intentionally' or 'knowingly' appear in the statue or is it 'cause' or 'possession' which would mean the crime is strict liability. The case of Alpha cell V Woodward (1972) demonstrate this where a company caused polluted matter to enter into a river. They hadn't meant to do this and had installed a filter which became clogged with leaves, but they were the ones who had caused it. Another question to consider is, is the offence regulatory or a true crime? With regulatory offences there is generally not much stigma attached for example, speeding. The case of Sweet V Parsley (1970) held that true crimes are criminal and have a stigma attached such as losing a job because of conviction. The third question to consider is whether there is a public/social concern aspect to the crime. This may be something like selling alchol or lottery tickets to those under age as in the case of Harrow V Shah (1999). ...read more.

Conclusion

There are various advantage and disadvantages to strict liability. An advantage is that it promotes care and attention but conversely some are convicted even when they have taken all reasonable steps to avoid committing an offence. A larger company continues to pay small fines as they have little impact, whereas small companies can be affected both by the fine and damage to their reputation. Once someone realises there is defence and courts start imposing larger fines, behaviour will change. A good example of this is wearing seatbelts in cars. Some years ago, lots of people would just not wear a seatbelt but since the law changed and there are lots of fine, most now wear one. Due to judges making the law this can result to undue rulings. This was seen in Lim Chin Aik V Regina (1963) and Smedley V Breed (1974). Therefore, it is important to have a consistent approach when it comes to judges determine if a crime requires mens rea or not. Absolute liability crimes seem the most unfair but with strict liability, because it is up to judges, they can also be inconsistent and unfair. Remember to write about reforms 2 ...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 Sources of 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 Sources of Law essays

  1. Free essay

    heirachy of civil courts

    The divisional court of the Queen's Bench division also exercises an appellate jurisdiction on points of law in cases stated by the magistrate's court. This form of appeal which may only be used to challenge a decision made on points of law not on points of fact, is referred to as an appeal 'by way of case stated'.

  2. Critically evaluate the partial defence of Provocation.

    An important but controversial qualification was laid down in R v Duffy (1949) namely that the loss of self-control must be 'sudden and temporary'. This was unlikely to be the case if the murder was committed for revenge, since 'the conscious formation of a desire for revenge means that a person has had time to think.'

  1. Assess the likelihood of Sid and Kenny avoiding personal liability for the debts of ...

    However it is well established that, in certain situations the English Courts are willing to look behind the company and pierce the corporate veil2. The situations include an agency relationship3, groups of companies4 and cases where a company was used as a "sham" or fraud5.

  2. To what extent has the war on terror had an effect on the idea ...

    The basic fundamental rights to freedom of expression and the right to have ones opinions, beliefs and political preference is being seen as unpatriotic whilst the right to privacy is being greatly compromised. It therefore becomes a conflict between governmental supremacy versus fundamental rights.

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