Contemporaneous Acts/Coincidence Rule/Thabo Meli

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  • Created on: 03-02-14 19:21
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Contemporaneous Acts (Coincidence Rule, Thabo Meli Rule)
For any crime there must be an ACTUS REUS and MENS RES but a problem arises where
both elements exist but not at the same time.
In the case of THABO MELI
When Man A hits Man B there is Mens Rea as he has intent to kill but no Actus Reus as
he doesn't succeed in causing death.
When Man A disposes of the body there is Actus Reus as this causes death but no Mens
Rea as he believes Man B is already dead.
The court solves this problem by declaring that there is one continuous Actus Reus that
runs from the moment Man A strikes Man B to the point where he disposes of the body
killing him. Provided there is Mens Rea present at any time during this period then a crime
has taken place.
In the case of FAGAN
When Fagan drives over the policeman's foot there is Actus Reus but no Mens Rea as it
was an accident.
When Fagan refuses to reverse there is Mens Rea as he has intent but no Actus Reus
as he isn't actually moving or doing anything.
The court solves this problem by declaring that driving on and refusing to reverse was
one continuous Actus Reus. Provided he has Mens Rea present at any time during this
period then Fagan is guilty.

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