The coincidence rule, what is it?
What is it?
For someone to be liable the actus reus and the mens rea must be proved at the same time.
This theory can be challenged if there is a continuing act...
A continuing act is where there actus reus and the mens rea are formed at different times, but there is a continuing act which link them both together, so the actus reus is a result of a previous mens rea for example. This is illustrated in the cases of Fagen and thabo meli.
Fagen Case facts
This was where a police officer was directing fagen to park his car. As fagen reversed, he drove onto the officers foot accidently. This is the actus reus. When the police officer told him to move the defendant argued. This was where the mens rea was formed. It was a continuing act and the defendant was found guilty.
Thabo Meli case facts
The four applelants 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 where they subsuqently threw him off. Medical evidence shows that the guy didn't die from being beaten over the head or thrown off a cliff, but infact of exposure at the bottom.
The act of beating him and throwing off a cliff was one continuing act.
The coincidence rule only applies when there is no continuing act which links the mens rea and the actus reus together.