Difference between Mens Rea and Actus Reus (Specific & General Intent) (Essay Sample)
Write a 900 words essay inclusive of an abstract, explaining what a crime constitutes, differentiating mens rea and actus reus. Additionally also differentiate general intent and specific intent. Use a minimum of 3 sources preferably ones written within the last 10 years.
Use APA referencing for in-text citations.
Make sure to use practical examples where necessary.
Mens Rea and Actus Reus
Mens Rea and Actus Reus
Mens rea refers to the intent behind which a person commits a crime. Generally, for a crime to be called a crime, it must have intent, although this is not always the case. For instance, if a person commits a strict liability offense, the element of criminal intent is not required. Actus reus refers to the action that a person makes in order to commit a crime. Despite the two terms having an ambiguity in differentiation, they can be distinguished. General intent crime is done intentionally, whereas specific intent crime is done intentionally and with knowledge of the crime results.
Mens rea and Actus Reus are vital elements of criminal law applied in most common law nations (Robinson, 2017). Mens rea is defined as the 'guilty mind' or, in other words, the guilty intent to perpetrate a crime with the aim to cause harm to another person or animals or with the explicit goal of disrupting the peace. However, Actus Reus is the "guilty act," which is required to establish that criminal conduct was performed (Hasitha & Jain, 2019). When a crime is being investigated, certain standards must be observed. The accused party is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof falls on the prosecution to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense's objective is to cast reasonable doubt on the judge or jury since justice principles mandate that someone cannot face conviction if the accusation against them cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mens rea is critical in determining if an act is criminal. Mens rea demonstrates an accused person’s explicit resolve to commit the offense for which they are charged. It must be proved that the accused did the offense deliberately, while fully aware of their acts, and with malice against the victim (Hasitha & Jain, 2019). In most civil cases, the Actus Reus is the priority (Hasitha & Jain, 2019).
Additionally, an Act may
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