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ELEMENTS OF A CRIME An overview – Law 12 MUNDY 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "ELEMENTS OF A CRIME An overview – Law 12 MUNDY 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 ELEMENTS OF A CRIME An overview – Law 12 MUNDY 2007

2 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

3 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”

4 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

5 MENS REA MENS REA demands proof of “intent to commit crime” Two categories of MENS REA: INTENT or KNOWLEDGE RECKLESSNESS

6 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

7 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

8 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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