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WHAT IS COINCIDENCE OF ACTUS For a person's liability to be established it must
REUS AND MENS REA? be shown that the defendant possessed
necessary mens rea at the time the actus reus
was committed so basically the two must
There is a continuing act for the actus reus and
WHAT IS THE at some point while that act is still going on the
CONTINUING ACT defendant has the necessary mens rea then the 2
coincide and the defendant will be guilty.
CASE EXAMPLEOF CONTINUING ACT : FAGAN V METROPOLITAN POLICE
COMMISIONER (1968) Fagan was directed by a PC to
park his vehicle by the kerb, but parked it on the PC's foot.
He did not do so deliberately, but he deliberately left it there
after the officer told him told him to remove it from his foot.
There was on ongoing act, which became an assault once
Fagan became aware of it.
Offences of strict liability are those crimes which do not
WHAT IS STRICT require mens rea with regard to at least one or more
elements of actus reus.
LIABILITY? The defendant need not have intended or known about that
circumstance or consequence. Liability is said to be strict
with regard to that element.
CASE EXAMPLE OF STRICT LIABILITY HARROW LONDON BOROUGH COUNCIL v SHAH The defendants
owned a newsagents where they sold lottery tickets. They had warned their
staff not to sell lottery tickets to anyone under the age of 16, they also told
their staff that if they were in any doubt as to a customer's age then they
should ask for ID. A member of staff sold a lottery ticket to a 13 year old
boy without asking for proof of age believing the boy to be over 16. The
defendant's were charged with selling a lottery ticket to a person under the
age of 16 contrary to s 13(1)(c) of the National Lottery Act 1993. The
Divisional Court held that the offence was one of strict liability and did not
require mens rea. The act of selling the ticket to someone under the age of
16 was enough to make them guilty of the offence even though they had
done everything possible to prevent this from happening in their shop.
Where a statute does not include any
PRESUMPTION words which indicate that mens rea is
OF MENS REA necessary for the offence to be committed
the court will assume that mens rea is
required for all criminal offences.
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CASE EXAMPLE: SWEET V PARSELY Defendant was a
landlady who did not live on the premises and only visited
occasionally. Her lodgers smoked cannabis and she was
charged with being concerned in the management of the
premises which were used for the purpose of smoking
cannabis. It was not proved that she knew of the
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Cases come before a court because of a
WHY DO WE NEED dispute over the meaning of a law the parties
STATUTORY ask the court to interpret and rule
The meaning of the law may be unclear
INTEPRETATION TO because of:
INDENTIFY Broad term Ambiguity Drafting error New
developments Changes in the use of language.…read more
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As technology develops, an old Act may no
longer cover a modern day situation.
Consider the Abolition of the `Year and a Day
rule' Act technology means that the medical
profession can sustain life much longer now
and people are more likely to survive longer
than a year and a day.…read more