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Mens rea

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Question Describe the mens rea element of a crime and its role in establishing criminal liability, using cases to identify different kinds of mens rea. Answer In order for an individual to be found guilty of a crime it is necessary for the prosecution in the majority of crimes to prove beyond reasonable doubt two important elements: Actus Reus - The physical act performed by the defendant Mens Rea - The guilty mind or mental act of the crime. Mens Rea means a guilty mind and refers to the intention element of the crime. ...read more.


There are three different levels of mens rea, which may form the basis of criminal liability, these are:- * Intention * Recklessness * Transferred Malice Intention is the highest level of mens rea. It is usually concerned with whether a person intends a particular result or consequence following their actions. In law there are two types of intent, Direct and Oblique. Direct Intent is where the defendant has a certain aim or result in mind and intends to achieve that result as in Matthews and Alleyne 2003. ...read more.


Transferred Malice is when someone intends to commit a crime against one person, but in fact commits the same crime against another. The law transfers the intention from the intended victim to the actual victim. This prevents the defendant from trying to argue that there was no mens rea so far as the actual intended victim was concerned as shown in R v Latimer 1886. However, if the original intention was to carry out a different crime from the original intent then it is not possible to transfer that intention as in R v Pembletion 1874 ...read more.

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