In this essay I shall talk about important principles of criminallaw.
The statement “Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea” literally translatedmeans “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 currentlegal system. What this statement means is that a person is guilty if they areproved to be blameworthy in both action and thought. This is the differencebetween murder and manslaughter.
A person could killed someone with their car accidentallydue to a crash and this would be actus reus but without mens rea simply becausethey had no intention to do so resulting in the conviction of manslaughter. Ifsomeone hit someone with their car with intention however, both actus reus andmens rea would be present to prove this person guilty of muder. There arehowever, difficulties such as omission and state of affairs which must be keptin mind.The ‘actus reus’ and ‘mens rea’ in criminal laware the action and thought behind an offence. Guilt is usually not proven untilboth are. The actus reus in criminal law are all parts of the crime excludingthe state of mind of the defendant. Particularly, actus reus consists ofdifferent types of crimes: commission, omission and state of affairs.
Commissioncan be split into two types of crime: conduct and result. A conduct crime isone whereby the conduct itself is illegal. An example of this could be lying tothe court of law under oath, hence committing perjury. Other examples couldinclude theft, rape or the possession of a firearm or illegal substance. Aresult crime is one whereby the result of an action is illegal. A good example couldbe throwing a rock. Although throwing a rock is not illegal, hitting someone withit would be hence the result was a criminal offence.
However, to prove a resultcrime guilty, causation usually must be established. Other examples of such anoffence could