• 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. Statutory Interpretation

    and delegated legislation shall be interpreted and applied as far as possible, in a way which is compatible with Convention rights (i.e. those articles which have been incorporated into UK law). Section 4 states that if a primary or delegated legislation is found to be incompatible with the Convention rights, then, the courts may make a declaration of incompatibility.

  2. Critically evaluate the partial defence of Provocation.

    It must also be proven that the defendant did actually lose their self-control? The loss of self-control must be due to a loss of temper and the case of R v Cocker (1989) shows that this can produce harsh results.

  1. Free essay

    heirachy of civil courts

    The qualification is that of at least ten years as a barrister. As mentioned, the high court is divided into three divisions, although this division is only for administrative purposes and the number of divisions may be increased or reduced by order-in-council.

  2. 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.

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

    According to Strauss, 'the (American) 'courts have long recognised the power to expel aliens as a fundamental sovereign attribute...An alien whose presence in the United States has no colour of lawfulness...has little claim on either agency of courts for relief'.2 It can be argued that The Patriot Act, to say the least, is a dangerous step towards totalitarianism for the citizens of the U.S.

  2. Theory of attention

    Evidence of action slips has high external validity but lack internal validity and control, lab experiments could be used to validate findings on action slips (Norman, DA, 1981). Strength of Normans ATS theory is that it allows for multiple sources of attention (Norman, DA, 1981).

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