AS Law - coincidence of mens rea and actus reus

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  • Created by: Sarah
  • Created on: 05-02-11 16:33

The general principle is that the actus reus and mens rea of a crime must occur at the same time for D to be guilty. This is also known as the contemporaneity rule; it means that you cannot be guilty of a crime if the act performed does not produce a desired result, i.e. if the mens rea is not present. For example, if someone were to go out looking to kill X and does not find them, and then the next day they accidentally injure X in a car accident, it does not make them guilty because the mens rea is not present at the car crash. 


The courts modified this rule so that a series of linked acts or omissions can be treated as a single continuing event. This establishes the coincidence of actus reus and mens rea. An example of this is Fagan v MPC where D accidentally stopped his car on a policeman’s foot and when asked to remove the car, he replied ‘F**k off, you can wait’. The court…




is this also known as the continuing act theory?

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