Criminal Liability Of The Scottish Legal System

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Mens rea, defined by Glanville Williams as “The mental element necessary for a particular crime,” plays a crucial role in determining the criminal liability of the accused in the Scottish legal system, particularly as the mens rea for a crime may not always be wicked as the previously used term “dole” inferred. The mens rea must usually be established in order to convict. Motive however, defined by The Oxford Dictionary as “a reason for doing something,” is not necessarily a compulsory factor, although it is useful, when deciding whether or not an individual is criminally liable, excluding crimes such as sexual offences where motive is a required factor. In order to consider the significance of these terms in the development of criminal liability in Scots law one must first determine the origin and different types of mens rea, and the relevance of these roots and varieties in the current meaning of mens rea. Additionally, one must determine the relevance of motive, particularly regarding sexual offences. Mens rea must also be considered alongside the actus reus; the behavioral element of a crime. It must be stated that on some occasions it is unnecessary to prove the mens rea, however this is only relevant in specific circumstances, such as in strict liability offences. Whilst determining motive is not essential, it may have the effect of mitigating the sentence in practice, and it is important that this is duly recognized. Lastly, one must acknowledge that mens rea may

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