Cases illustrating the contemporaneity rule

cases illustrating the contemoraniety rule.

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Fagan v MPC

Fagan v MPC [1969] 1 QB 439

A policeman was directing the defendant to park his car. The defendant accidentally drove onto the policeman's foot. The policeman shouted at him to get off. The defendant refused to move. The defendant argued at the time of the actus reus, the driving onto the foot, he lacked the mens rea of any offence since it was purely accidental. When he formed the mens rea, he lacked the actus reus as he did nothing.


The driving on to the foot and remaining there was part of a continuing act.

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Thabo-Meli v R [1954] 1 WLR 228

  Thabo-Meli v R [1954] 1 WLR 228 Privy Council

The four appellants were convicted of murder. They had planned to kill a man and then make it look like an accident. They took him to a hut and beat him over the head. Believing that he was dead, they then took his body to a cliff and threw it off. Medical evidence showed that the deceased died from exposure of being left at the bottom of the cliff and not from the blow to the head. They appealed against their convictions on the grounds that the actus reus and mens rea of the crime did not coincide. That is to say when they formed the intention to kill, there was no actus reus as the man was still alive. When they threw him off the cliff, there was no mens rea as they can intend to kill someone they believed was already dead.


Convictions upheld. The act of beating him and throwing him off the cliff was one continuing act.

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