In this essay I shall talk about important principles of criminal
law. The statement “Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea” literally translated
means “an act does not make the person guilty unless the mind is also guilty.
It is this statement among many others that make the foundation of our current
legal system. What this statement means is that a person is guilty if they are
proved to be blameworthy in both action and thought. This is the difference
between murder and manslaughter. A person could killed someone with their car accidentally
due to a crash and this would be actus reus but without mens rea simply because
they had no intention to do so resulting in the conviction of manslaughter. If
someone hit someone with their car with intention however, both actus reus and
mens rea would be present to prove this person guilty of muder. There are
however, difficulties such as omission and state of affairs which must be kept
in mind.

The ‘actus reus’ and ‘mens rea’ in criminal law
are the action and thought behind an offence. Guilt is usually not proven until
both are. The actus reus in criminal law are all parts of the crime excluding
the state of mind of the defendant. Particularly, actus reus consists of
different types of crimes: commission, omission and state of affairs. Commission
can be split into two types of crime: conduct and result. A conduct crime is
one whereby the conduct itself is illegal. An example of this could be lying to
the court of law under oath, hence committing perjury. Other examples could
include theft, rape or the possession of a firearm or illegal substance. A
result crime is one whereby the result of an action is illegal. A good example could
be throwing a rock. Although throwing a rock is not illegal, hitting someone with
it would be hence the result was a criminal offence. However, to prove a result
crime guilty, causation usually must be established. Other examples of such an
offence could 

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