HSC Legal Studies
Meaning of crime 1.1
A crime is an act or omission, harmful to the public that is punished by the state in criminal proceedings, initiated and pursued by the state.
The Elements of crime: Actus Reus, Mens Rea 1.2
For the prosecution to obtain a conviction, they must prove the existence of all elements of a crime to the requisite criminal standard of proof, being beyond a reasonable doubt.
With the exception of strict liability offences for a criminal offence to have occurred, the accused must have committed both elements of the crime: Actus reus: refers to the actions (or in rare cases the failure to act/the omission) of the accused; that is that the accused actually did the act Mens rea: refers to the mental state of the accused; i.e. that the accused intended the actions.
Strict Liability Offences 1.3
Strict liability offences are minor in nature e.g. speeding. For these the prosecution to prove mens rea; of the act alone is sufficient to constitute a crime.
Strict liability offences can only be successfully defended if the accused can prove that that the actual act did not occur as mens rea is irrelevant to this category of offences.
Causation is to prove a criminal charge; the prosecution must show that there is a link between the act and the crime. That is, that it is an act by which an effect is produced. For example, if someone was stabbed and they died on the on the operating table, then this act of the stabbing that caused the person to die, rather than the fault of the doctor. This link is called causation.
Case Blaue v R 1975 1 WLF 1411.
Appellant stabbed Victim and Victim later died for refusing medical treatment for religious reasons. Appellant argued that because Victim refused life saving medical treatment, his conviction for manslaughter should be overturned.
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