Actus reus and mens rea


Actus reus stands for 'guilty act'. It is the voluntary, deliberate act to cause harm - there is a degree of physical control.
The two exceptions regarding actus reus is an involuntary act and an omission.

An example of an involuntary act is in HILL V BAXTER where the defendant had fell asleep at the wheel, the judge then gave hypothetical situations where if the defendant had a swarm of bees enter the car he wouldn't be liable as it would be a reflex action and the defendant would be in control.

An omission is a failure to act. There is no liability for an omission unless there is a special relationship, contractual duty or it is a state for affairs.

An example of a special relationship is that of a parent to child or doctor to patient. in R V GIBBONS & PROCTOR the father had failed to feed the child resulting in its death. The father is liable.

And example of contractual duty is where your…


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