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Unit 1 Task 3 Essay

2273 words - 10 pages

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The two elements of a crime are the actus reus and mens rea. The actus reus is a crime comprises an actus reus, or a criminal act or omission, and a mens rea, or a criminal intent. Actus reus generally involves three elements or components: first one is a voluntary act or failure to perform an act, second is who causes, and third one is a social harm condemned under a criminal statute.
The conduct itself might be criminal. For example the conduct of lying under oath represents the actus reus of perjury. It does not matter that whether the lie is believed or if had any effect on the outcome of the case, the actus reus of the ...view middle of the document...

This general rule however, is subject to exceptions like these:
1. Statutory duty: In some situations there is a statutory duty to act for example to provide details of insurance after a traffic accident or to notify DVLA when you sell a vehicle.
2. Contractual duty: If a person owes a contractual duty to act, then a failure to meet this contractual duty may result in criminal liability: R v Pittwood (1902)
3. Duty imposed by law: The actus reus can be committed by an omission where there exists a duty imposed by law. There are three situations in which a duty may be imposed by law. These are where the defendant creates a dangerous situation, where there has been a voluntary assumption of responsibility and misconduct in a public office. Additionally an omission may be classified as part of a continuing act. Creating a dangerous situation and failing to put it right: R v Miller (1983)

Second element is the Mens rea which translates as 'to have in mind’ from Latin. It is an important element of any crime because it relates to the need to determine whether the defendant held the sufficient state of mind to have the intent to commit the particular crime in question with the ‘guilty mind’. According to the Hyam v DPP [1955] AC 55 case it relates to the idea that there is sufficient “criminal intention”. Sweet v. Parsley [1970] AC 132 case illustrates that mens rea is required when the offence is a true crime as oppose to a normative offence. In general terms, being reckless refers to the taking of an unjustified risk. Recklessness in criminal law has given rise to more difficulty. In particular the question as to whether a subjective test should apply to recklessness or whether an objective test should apply. In the context of criminal damage, originally the leading case in this area of R v Cunningham held that a subjective test applied to determine recklessness which this gave rise to Cunningham recklessness which asks, did the defendant foresee the harm that in fact occurred, might occur from his actions, but nevertheless continue regardless of the risk.
Intention requires the highest degree of fault of all the levels of mens rea. A person who intends to commit a crime, can generally be said to be more culpable than one who acts recklessly. Intention differs from motive or desire (Per Lord Bridge R v Moloney (1985).Thus, a person who kills a loved one dying from a terminal illness, in order to relieve pain and suffering, may well act out of good motives. Nevertheless, this does not prevent them having the necessary intention to kill see R v Inglis (2011). Intention can be divided into direct intent and oblique intent. Direct intent is the majority of cases will be quite straight forward and involve direct intent. Direct intent can be said to exist where the defendant embarks on a course of conduct to bring about a result which in fact occurs for example D intends to kill his wife. To achieve that result he gets a knife from the kitchen,...

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