Compare And Contrast The Four Classifications Of Mens Rea

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Mens Rea is the Latin word for a ‘guilty mind’ (Latin dictionary reference?). In the English Law it can be defined as ‘the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime, as opposed to the action or conduct of the accused’ (oxford dictionary reference) known as the Actus Reus of an offence. Mens rea is made up of four fault elements: Intention, Knowledge, Recklessness and Negligence. Establishing which category of Mens Rea an offence falls under is important in many cases where the prosecution must prove a ‘culpable state of mind’ (don’t have a reference but feel like need one) in respect to the result of the Actus Reus of an offence. Ascertaining what, and how much, the defendant foresaw can be said to be key when distinguishing between the four categories, due to the fact that each category holds a different level of required foresight, resulting in different degrees of fault. On the other hand however there are also arguments to suggest that other factors are also crucial when deciding the classification of mens rea; for example the intended aim of the defender when conducting the unlawful crime, the reasonableness…show more content…
In the case of recklessness it is sufficient that a person not think about the possible results or take risk on the fact they don’t think the outcome is likely. Where as for knowledge, similar to oblique intention the defendant “ shuts his eyes and fails to enquire because he is virtually certain what the answer will be” (e.g. Ross v.Moss [1965] 2QB 369), in this case the court will invoke the doctrine of wilful blindness, the defendant will be considered to have actual knowledge. Therefore the extent to what the defendant foresaw is key. On the other hand the argument could be that its not a distinguishing factor due to the similarities regarding foresight between intention and knowledge.

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