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

Law- Strict liability, mens rea actus reus

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain the concept of "actus reus" and "mens rea" and strict liability. Do you think that there should be strict liability for a crime where there was no prior intention to commit the offence? "A crime is an unlawful act or default which is an offence against the public and renders the person guilty of the act or default liable to legal punishment." 1 In relation to the question... The essay will be divided into two sections. The first section of the essay will explain the principles of actus reus, mens rea and strict liability. The second section of this essay will discuss the opinions and criticisms of the law relating to strict liability. In addition, a conclusion on the arguments as to whether strict liability is fair will be reached and suggestion son reform will be made. *elements of a crime. A- To find a person guilty of a crime, two elements must be present; actus reus and mens rea. The legal dictionary definition of actus reus is a 'guilty act' which is forbidden by the criminal law. ...read more.

Middle

The victim takes avoiding action- for example victim jumping into a river to escape an attack and drowns - defendant can be responsible for the death. Defendant is not guilty is the action taken by the victim was unreasonable or too far removed from original attack for example, three months after an assault the victim suffers from depression and as a result commits suicide. In the case of R. v. Smith (1959) a soldier got stabbed when a fight broke out in his barracks. The Court of Appeal described his medical treatment as "thoroughly bad". The Court of Appeal held that the victim's death was still a result of being stabbed by the defendant so he or she was of murder. C- Mens rea literally means guilty mind however the defendant does not need to know what he is doing is a crime. The defendant only used to have the intention required by that specific offence that they are charged with. There are different types of intention. The law states that a defendant must have specific intention for serious crimes. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the courts are deciding whether or not an offence is strict liability, they have to take into consideration certain factors. These factors are based on a modern criteria and were created by Lord Scarman in the case of Gammon (Hong Kong) Ltd v. Attorney General for Hong Kong (1984) 2. In the following examples he states he is basically describing various situations where strict liability would apply: 1. There is a presumption of law that mens rea is required before a person can be held guilty of a criminal offence. 2. Mens rea is particularly required where the offence is truly criminal - very serious. 3. Mens rea can only be removed where a statue clearly states that mens rea is not necessary. 4. The only situation where mens rea can be removed is where the statute is concerned with an issue of social concern and public safety. 5. Strict liability is preferred in situations where the aim is to prevent people committing a certain crime 1 Halsbury's Laws of England quoted by Lord Tucker. Case before the House of Lords, Board of Trade v. Owen (1957) 2 Gammon (Hong Kong) Ltd v. Attorney General for Hong Kong (1984) 2 ALL ER 503 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Law essays

  1. Study the concept of Reasonable man and reasonability in tort law.

    Was a question that arose. However different context in which the operation of "reasonableness" as test of validity must be kept distinguished. For instance as the arguments in the present case invoke, the administrative law test of 'reasonableness' is different from the test of the 'reasonable man' familiar to the

  2. Worlds Apart: Orientalism, Antifeminism, and Heresy in Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale

    Notice throughout the whole book that, with marvellous cunning, when he is going to say something ungodly, or recalls having said it, he soon puts in something about fasting, or about prayer, or praising God. Yet another metaphor that unmasks Muhammad's fraud, in which he is characterized as offering the

  1. Mens rea

    Oblique Intent is where the defendant has one purpose in mind but in achieving that purpose also causes other consequences as in Hancock and Shankland 1986. Recklessness is the taking of an unjustifiable risk. There are two levels of recklessness, Subjective where the defendant realises the risk but decides to

  2. Is the imposition of strict liability ever justifiable in criminal law?

    (Elliot and Quinn, p.36) Since they had taken all reasonable and practical precautions, it would appear that this ruling is fairly severe. There does appear, however, to be a strong argument for its use in order to protect the consumer, and perhaps more specifically, the public.

  1. The Law Relating to Negotiable Instruments

    It must be made 'payable to order' initially. However, on being endorsed in blank it can become 'payable to bearer' or `payable to bearer on demand' subsequently and it shall be valid in that case. (ii) A bill of exchange may be originally made 'payable to bearer' but it must be payable otherwise than on demand (say, payable three months after date)

  2. Discuss either in the relation to the actus reus or the mens rea of ...

    Property belonging to a person in civil law will be treated as belonging to them even in the event of theft as section 5 states: 'Property shall b regarded as belonging to any person having possession or control of it or having it in any proprietary right or interest' The

  1. Using actual situations describe the elements of actus

    After an arrest, the suspect must either be released within a set period of time, or charged with an offence. If there is a charge, the accused must be brought before a court as quickly as possible, or released and told when to attend court.

  2. Jewish law about suicide

    Part II-B will study how these principles apply, in light of various possible extenuating circumstances, to the case of a competent patient who, because of intractable pain, wants to end her life. A. Relevant Jewish Law Principles As to physician-assisted suicide, the most important Jewish law concerns include: 1.<Tab/>The rules

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