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Actus reus
"Guilty act"

Voluntary acts

The actus reus is the voluntary, deliberate act of the defendant.
E.g. the actus reus for GBH s.20 / s.18 is any act of the defendant (i) that is unlawful (ii) and
has the consequence of causing injury to the victim (iii) which the…

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The rule of causation must be applied to decide whether the act caused the consequences defined in
the crime, e.g. in homicide, the defendants act must lead to the death of a victim.

Factual causation

This is known as the `but for' test.
`But for the defendant's actions, would…

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Take your victim as you find them

(Thin skull / eggshell skull rule)

The law does not allow for any special characteristics of the defendant, e.g. if they're more
vulnerable to injury than most.
e.g. Blaue 1975 ­ The defendant stabbed a victim, who was a Jehovah's Witness. The victim…

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Mens rea
"Guilty mind" or "intention"

There are 3 types of intent: direct, oblique and recklessness.

Direct intent

The defendant will be guilty if they intended to commit the crime, e.g. S.18 of the OAP Act:
"The intent to cause grievous bodily harm"

Mohan 1976 - Here, the defendant was…

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In the case, the defendant broke a gas metre to steal money but gas escaped and caused the
occupant of the house to become ill. Cunningham saw this risk but did it anyway.

Transferred malice

This is where the defendant's mens rea is transferred from the intended victim to the…

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Strict liability
These are crimes where there is an actus reus but there is no requirement for a mens rea ­ so
performing the act is sufficient to be guilty.

Examples include health & safety regulations, motoring offences such as drink driving and selling
alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets to…

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Easier to prove
Takes less time in court
Encourages compliance with the law
Makes regulation straight forward
Protects the public

Disadvantages of strict liability
Could be unfair and unjust as there is no mens rea (e.g. Shah)
There is still time spent in court over minor prosecutions.



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