INTRODUCTION: ACTUS REUS
1. CRIME NATURE
a. Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea – conduct does not make a man guilty without a guilty mind b. Two elements must be proved in Scots crime:
i. Actus Reus – Wrongful Act/Physical Act
ii. Mens Rea – Wrongful State of Mind/Mental Element
c. Exceptionally – some crimes (usually statutory – speeding, parking) don’t require proof of Mens Rea
2. ACTEUS REUS
a. Mere intentions do not make a criminal offence – there must be a criminal act or omission b. Specifically, blameworthy conduct: a physical act prevented by law. i. There are conduct crimes – eg Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 – physical act of possession of an illegal drug constitutes Actus Reus. ii. And result crimes (series of events) – a forbidden consequence results from the physical conduct (eg. A death). Usually you have to prove Mens Rea for all parts of the series of events (eg. Murder – intention to do the act and intention to cause death)
a. Three types of conduct: Positive Act, Act of Omission, State of Affairs i. A Positive Act
1. Voluntary acts – controlled by the actor
2. Involuntary acts – where person cannot control their actions, this is an involuntary act a. Hogg vs McPherson (1928) External forces, such as a heavy gale, causing a horse carriage to collide with a lamp standard are an involuntary act. b. Hugh Mitchell (1856) Woman holding her child during an attack by the defendant, squeezed it too hard and it died.
Her act was involuntary and the defendant was liable for its death. Culapable homicide. 4 years penal servitude. 3. Reflex actions arern’t voluntary. They’re automatic and defensive, usually without thought though you may be in a conscious state. a. Jessop v Johnstone (1991) Scholboy hit teacher with jotter. Teacher reacted by hitting him. However, he then hit him again. Court recosnised it was possible to instinctively react to violence and come into contact wioth another. Here. The 2nd blow was not...
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