Difference Between Actus Reus And Mens Rea

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Actus reus and mens rea are the two most fundamental element necessary to prove that a crime is committed However, some crimes such as those which fall under the strict liability category does not require a proof of mens rea. It is said that within the actus reus, there must be both a voluntary act and a consequent result. There are, however, some exceptions to the voluntary act requirement known as omissions. This essay will focus on the duties of care under which the actus reus of a crime can be committed through omission. However, there are some crimes that cannot be committed through omission e.g. assault and constructive manslaughter.
Generally speaking the law punishes positive act. However, when an omission contributes to an offence and a duty to act can be established, criminal liability can occur. Some countries such as the United States of America have what is known as ‘Good
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For an instance, a driver which refuses to provide his whereabouts to an officer when his vehicle is involved in an accident or caused an injury to the other party, the person will be guilty of an offence under S.170(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 for failure to disclose information . However, in some situation the common law or statute has recognized an offence where a duty imposed by criminal liability on omission is neglected. In the case of Dytham the defendant, a police officer stood by whilst a bouncer kicked a man to death. The defendant was charged with the offence of misconduct although the defendant argued that the offence could not be committed by an omission as misconduct requires a positive act or an element of corruption. However, the court of appeal upheld his conviction by stating that as a police officer, the defendant had a duty to the society which is protecting
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