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(p. 54) 3. Mens rea 

(p. 54) 3. Mens rea
(p. 54) 3. Mens rea

Nicola Monaghan

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date: 07 December 2019

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter discusses the mens rea elements of a criminal offence. There are two types of intention: direct intent and oblique intent. A person has direct intention in relation to a consequence where it is his aim or purpose to achieve that consequence (i.e. where he desires that consequence). Where a person does not desire the consequence, but appreciates that it is virtually certain to occur as a result of his actions, this appreciation is evidence from which a jury may find that he intended the consequence. This is referred to as oblique intent. Subjective recklessness requires two questions to be asked: (a) did D foresee the possibility of the consequence occurring; and (b) was it unreasonable to take the risk? The actus reus and mens rea of an offence must coincide in time in order for the defendant to be guilty of that offence. The continuing act theory might be employed in order to establish coincidence. An alternative approach would be the ‘single transaction’ theory.

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