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Cover Complete Criminal Law

2. Actus reus: the conduct element  

A crime consists of conduct (actus reus or AR) and a mental element (mens rea or MR). This chapter focuses on AR, the external elements of a criminal offence. It discusses the key components of AR. These key components are omissions or liability for failing to act and causation, which represents the connection between the conduct and the result of an act. The duty of a doctor in withdrawal of medical treatment is discussed. The chapter explains that AR must be proved, must be voluntary, and can include a mental element. It also considers several examples of cases relevant to AR and analyses the bases of the court decisions.

Chapter

Cover Complete Criminal Law

3. Mens rea: blameworthy states of mind  

This chapter focuses on mens rea (MR) and discusses some of the components of MR, which include intention, recklessness, negligence, and gross negligence. It explains that intention can be direct or oblique and that recklessness may be defined as the conscious taking of an unjustified risk. It also explains how to distinguish between negligence and gross negligence. The chapter examines the concept of strict liability in the context of criminal law and discusses the implications of strict liability for actus reus and MR, evaluating arguments for and against strict liability, and considering the treatment of strict liability under the European Convention.