Actus Reus in Law

Topics: Criminal law, Law, Crime Pages: 3 (454 words) Published: February 21, 2015
Actus Reus

An act is not of itself wicked unless the mind is wicked also. The ACTUS REUS is absolutely essential as it is the physical element of the crime, you must prove the ACTUS REUS first before anything else. A person is NEVER punished merely for wrong thinking or evil thoughts. Can be:

A positive act
A failure to act (omission)
All crimes require an Actus Reus.
No crime if defendant did not commit the actus reus.

ACTUS REUS: The unlawful killing of a human being.

Actus Reus of a crime can be made up of 3 elements:

Crimes only made up of:
Conduct: eg PERJURY
Conduct (cause) and Consequences (force/fear): eg ASSAULT
Conduct (destroys or damages property), Circumstances (belonging to another), Consequences (property be destroyed or damaged): eg CRIMINAL DAMAGE

ACTUS REUS AND MENS REA doesn’t have to occur at the same time. EG – Thabo Meli and Fagan
Actus Reus can begin half way through a lawful act.
EG - Kaitamaki
Actus Reus must be voluntary.

Actus non-facit reum nisi mens sit rea – no act is punishable unless it is performed with a criminal mind

Actus Reus – the prohibited conduct, omission, consequence or state of affairs

Thabo Meli v R – the mens rea and actus reus do not have to occur at the same time

Kaitamaki – a lawful act may become unlawful if consent to the act is withdraw

Mens Rea – the degree of blameworthiness required by offence, for example intention or recklessness.

1. Can be a positive act
2. Can be made up of: circumstances, consequences and conduct 3. Can be a failure to act

RED 1(a)

RED 2(a) –
When is duty of care assumed?
Is everyone who failed to act to be prosecuted?
When is conduct classed as an omission not an act?

RED 3(a) –
Too many convictions

RED 4(a) –
Duty in a dangerous situation
Duty based on a relationship

RED 5(a) –
Stone and Dobinson let...
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