ELEMENTS OF A CRIME

January 13, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Political Science, Civics
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ELEMENTS OF A CRIME An overview – Law 12 MUNDY 2007

ACTUS REUS and MENS REA = two elements needed to prove that action by accused is indeed a CRIME  ACTUS REUS = “guilty act/deed”  MENS REA = “guilty mind”  Without both proven, courts cannot find an accused to be guilty of a crime 

ACTUS REUS and MENS REA Onus of proof of both actus reus and mens rea is on the shoulders of the Crown, not the accused  This is due to Charter of Rights and Freedom section 11(d): that a person is “to be presumed innocent until proven guilty” 

ACTUS REUS Need for a proof of ACTUS REUS is based on proof that accused actually committed an act prohibited in the Criminal Code  Conversely, proof of ACTUS REUS for some crimes may need proof of OMISSION, or failing to act in a situation, such as care for baby 

MENS REA MENS REA demands proof of “intent to commit crime”  Two categories of MENS REA: 

INTENT or KNOWLEDGE  RECKLESSNESS 

MENS REA, cont’d. INTENT: Accused’s state of mind shows that they understand the future consequence of their action  GENERAL INTENT: proof that accused was conscious of action’s intent – usually inferred by action  SPECIFIC INTENT: proof that action was to lead to another criminal offense 

MENS REA, cont’d. KNOWLEDGE: proof that an accused had knowledge of certain facts that show accused was acting intentionally  Defence of accused here is to show that he/she did not know that the ACTUS REUS was leading to a crime  However, accused cannot use defense that they were unaware of the crime 

MENS REA, cont’d. MOTIVE: a reason for a person to want to commit a crime  Difference between motive and intent: people may have motive to commit a crime but do not go through with act  Motive is used in court to add to weight of MENS REA, but only as extra evidence, not as proof of MENS REA 

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