Mens Rea

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1. What is strict liability?

  • Where the D is guilty of an offence just for having the MR - Larsonneur.
  • Where the D is guilty of an offence for just committing the AR, no need for MR - HLBC v Shah.
  • Where the AR and MR have to happen at the same time.
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2. Reasons against strict liability?

  • Harder to enforce.
  • Takes longer for a guilty plea.
  • Makes people who are not blameworthy guilty of an offence, even if all possible care has been taken - HLBC v Shah.
  • Protects society, promotes greater care in public safety - Alphacell v Woodward.

3. Reasons for strict liability?

  • Protect society by promoting greater care in matters of public safety - R v Blake, encourages higher standards in things such as hygiene - Alphacell v Woodward, easier to enforce, saves court time as people more likely to plead guilty.
  • Stops people being blameworthy.

4. What is indirect intent?

  • Defined in R v Mohan as the decision to bring about a prohibited consequence.
  • Where aim of the D is different to the actual consequence. R v Woollin established the virtual certainty test
  • Defined in R v Cunningham as when the D realises there is a risk but takes that risk anyway.

5. What happens if it is not clear is an offence is strict liability?

  • Court will presume mens rea is required - Sweet v Parsley.
  • Court will presume mens rea is not required - Sweet v Parsley.
  • Court will presume mens rea is required - HLBC v Shah.

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