mens rea


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Mens Rea

As an element of criminal responsibility, a guilty mind; a guilty or wrongful purpose; a criminal intent. Guilty knowledge and wilfulness.

A fundamental principle of Criminal Law is that a crime consists of both a mental and a physical element. Mens rea, a person's awareness of the fact that his or her conduct is criminal, is the mental element, and actus reus, the act itself, is the physical element.

The concept of mens rea developed in England during the latter part of the common-law era (about the year 1600) when judges began to hold that an act alone could not create criminal liability unless it was accompanied by a guilty state of mind. The degree of mens rea required for a particular common-law crime varied. Murder, for example, required a malicious state of mind, whereas Larceny required a felonious state of mind.

Today most crimes, including common-law crimes, are defined by statutes that usually contain a word or phrase indicating the mens rea requirement. A typical statute, for example, may require that a person act knowingly, purposely, or recklessly.

Sometimes a statute creates criminal liability for the commission or omission of a particular act without designating a mens rea. These are called Strict Liability statutes. If such a statute is construed to purposely omit criminal intent, a person who commits the crime may be guilty even though he or she had no knowledge that his or her act was criminal and had no thought of committing a crime. All that is required under such statutes is that the act itself is voluntary, since involuntary acts are not criminal.

Occasionally mens rea is used synonymously with the words general intent, although general intent is more commonly used to describe criminal liability when a defendant does not intend to bring about a particular result. Specific Intent, another term related to mens rea, describes a particular state of mind above and beyond what is generally required.

mens rea

(menz ray-ah) n. Latin for a guilty mind, or criminal intent in committing the act. (See: intent, crime)

mens rea

noun criminal design, criminal guilt, crimiial intent, criminal purpose, criminality, culpability, vice, wrong, wrongdoing

mens rea

‘guilty mind’, the term used to describe the mental element required to constitute a crime. Generally it requires that the accused meant or intended to do wrong or at least knew he was doing wrong. However, the precise mental element varies from crime to crime.
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First, it allowed for disaggregation between the employee who committed the actus reus--the corporate official who issued the false statement--and the employee harboring the mens rea.
By requiring that deviatory crimes be predictable to every member of the JCE, the Appeals Chamber established a mens rea for attributing liability via JCE III that substantially exceeds "mere foreseeability.
actus reus and mens rea elements, useful and illuminating as it is for
relieves the prosecutor of the need to prove mens rea or whether there
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108) He stated, as Judge Jasen did in his Register dissent, that Register was the first time the court "held that the requisite mens rea for [depraved indifference murder] was ordinary recklessness--the exact same mental state required for manslaughter in the second degree.
Offences in which there is no necessity for the prosecution to prove the existence of mens rea, the doing of the prohibited act prima facie imports the offence, leaving it open to the accused to avoid liability by proving that he took all reasonable care, this involves consideration of what a reasonable man would have done in the circumstances.
The common law has also had a fault category of "constructive malice" for certain crimes, under which a person who is committing one crime is deemed to have the relevant mens rea fault element for another unintended crime.
1) According to this doctrine, strict liability may be viewed as a halfway house between mens rea (where the prosecution is required to prove fault or the requisite mental element beyond reasonable doubt, as is the case for all criminal offences) and absolute liability (where there is no fault requirement, and proof of the proscribed act, or actus reus, leads to a finding of guilt).
During the investigation it was also found that there was not an lota of evidence of mens rea against the petitioner/accused to have committed the offence of burning the pages of Holy Qur'an (Qaida)/ Namaz which comes within the definition of offence under Section 295-B of P.
It will walk through the foundational military statutes regulating capacity, mental responsibility, mens rea, and sentencing and explain their natural connection with neuroscience.