Elements of Criminal Liability

  • Created by: Launston
  • Created on: 13-05-14 09:32
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  • Elements of Criminal Liability
    • Actus Reus (Prohibited Act)
    • Mens Rea (Culpable state of mind)
    • Actus Reus and Mens Rea must coincide
      • Actus Reus comes first
        • Fagan - drove car onto police officer's foot and did not move it when he realised
          • The Actus Reus was a continuing act from the moment the car stopped on the policeman's foot and the mens rea arose and coincided
        • Miller - dropped a cigarette onto a mattress and did not put the fire out
          • Where the defendant has created a dangerous situation, they must act to stop this
      • Mens Rea comes first
        • Church - beat a woman and threw her into the river believing she was dead, she subsequently drowned
          • The series of acts made up a single transaction which was designed to cause death
    • Strict Liability
      • Only the Actus Reus must be proved to render the defendant liable
        • Criticisms: people should not be arrested without a 'fault' element - they must have a culpable state of mind
          • ECHR: there should be no strict liability for the crimes with the most serious levels of culpability
            • House of Lords: Mens Rea should be assumed in every criminal case
      • Justifications
        • Enforces standards of behaviour
          • It is easier to catch criminals
            • There is no risk to liberty and punishments are usually in the form of fines
    • Absence of a Valid Defence
      • Specific
        • Loss of Self Control
      • General
        • Necessity
      • Denial of Mens Rea
        • Insanity
      • Denial of Actus Reus
        • Automatism
      • Complete
        • Self Defence
      • Partial
        • Diminished Responsibility


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