law- mens rea

Topics: Criminal law, Law, Crime Pages: 2 (1166 words) Published: October 22, 2014

Mens rea translates to guilty mind, it refers to the mental element of a crime. Mens rea must be proved alongside actus reus for a defendant (D) to be guilty of an offence. This was set out in Woolmington v DPP. Specific intent crimes require proof of a higher level of mens rea (ie intention) because of the moral blameworthiness attached to such crimes, whereas, basic intent crimes require proof only of recklessness. Intention is the highest form of mens rea and has two types, direct and oblique. Direct intent is where the D’s aim, objective and purpose to being about the consequence, this is set out in R v Mohan, often referred to as purpose intent. It is D’s Aim, Objective and Purpose to bring about the prohibited consequence. If however the prosecution can not prove direct intent and the crime is a specific intent crime (ie. A crime in which intention must be proved) then they will try to prove oblique intent instead. If however the crime is a basic intent crime (ie where only recklessness needs to be proven to satisfy the mens rea) and the prosecution cannot prove direct intent they will try to prove recklessness. The main problem with direct intention or purpose intent is proving that D actually desired the prohibited consequence. Very rarely will a D admit that it was indeed his/her purpose to bring about an unlawful consequence. It is more common for D to claim that he did not foresee that actual consequence which occurred, and this has left the interpretation of intention open to ambiguity. When this is the case Oblique Intention (Foresight Intention) may be used. Oblique intent (also known as foresight intent) covers the situation where the consequence is foreseen by the defendant as virtually certain, although is not desired for its own sake and the defendant goes ahead with his actions anyway. To require proof that it was the defendant’s aim, objective and purpose to bring about a particular consequence may involve placing a very heavy evidential...
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