Law - Mens rea

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  • Mens Rea
    • Intention
      • Not the same as motive. A decision to bring about a certain consequence
      • E.g Mohan
      • Direct intent - intends specific consequence to occur
      • Oblique intent - D intends one thing, but the actual consequence is another ting
      • Foresight of consequence
      • Consequence must have been a virtual certainty and the D must have realised this e.g Woollin
    • Recklessness
      • Subjective recklessness occurs when D realises there's a risk of harm but carries on anyway
      • Lower level of intention so it is used for crimes that aren't as serious
        • Mens rea for assualt and battery, s47, s20 and criminal damage
      • e.g R v Cunningham
        • 'Maliciously' means either intention or subjective recklessness
          • Case of Savage 1992 confirmed this principle
    • Negligence
      • A person is negligent if they fail to meet the standards of the reasonable man
      • Lower level of fault than intention and recklessness
      • Isn't widely used in criminal law
    • Strict Laibility
      • Crimes that don't require a mens rea with at least 1 or more elements of the actus reus
      • About 1/2 of all statutory offences are strict liability, over 3,500.
      • Mainly aimed at businesses e.g health and safety offences
      • Presumption of mens rea e.g Sweet v Parsley
      • Gammon test
        • D must be proved to have done the AR
        • Must be a voluntary act
        • No need to prove MR for at least part of the AR
        • No 'due diligence' defence
        • No defence of mistake
      • R v Prince - taking girl under 16 out of possession of her parents
        • Callow v Tillstone - butcher
          • Harrow LBC v Shah and Shah - lottery ticket
            • Le Cocq - alcohol
              • Alphacell - pollution
                • B v DPP - inciting child under 14 to commit act of gross indecency
                  • Storkwain -  fake prescription
    • Mental element of a crime
    • Absence of mens rea will result in acquittal e.g R v Clarke
    • Each offence has its own mens rea except offences of strict liability
    • It is for the prosecution to prove the required mens rea


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