There are conduct crimes – eg Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 – physical act of possession of an illegal drug constitutes Actus Reus. Conversely, if there is no legal duty to act, the failure to do so is not a crime.

The distinction is that criminal conduct involves both actus reus and mens rea, whereas a criminal act only involves actus reus.

He is shocked when the weapon fires and destroys an antique vase. Criminal offence consists of two main elements: actus reus and mens rea. Both a successful and a failed assassination attempt constitute an actus reus but for different crimes, the first for murder, the second for attempted murder.

These more serious crimes are also known as conduct crimes.

In some cases a harmful event may result from two or more causes. i.

For example, parents have strong duties to prevent harm to their children.

It is essential that the defendant acted voluntarily and that he caused the injury, damage or harm. His failure meant he could be charged with manslaughter.

Although there are different penalties for murder and attempted murder, Thomas Nagel asked a famous question—How is it possible for one to be less culpable if a bird gets in the way of one’s bullet? In order to qualify as actus reus, the act must be deemed a bodily movement that was voluntary.

Parents who failed to feed their children could be prosecuted for child neglect.

In practice, withholding treatment as passive euthanasia is likely to cause more pain and suffering than actively ending a life would, and thus there may be more reason to commit active euthanasia in cases where passive euthanasia would otherwise be considered.

There are two common forms of mens rea; intention, wicked recklessness and negligence. Mens Rea mainly refers to criminal intent. In his work on moral luck, Michael Zimmerman has made a compelling case that it is not possible that one can be less morally culpable because of luck in the results of one’s actions. A has committed no offence.”

Stephen LJ: “It is not a crime to cause death or injury, even intentionally, by any omission”. - Actus Reus = Guilty Act.

The actus reus is any act of the defendant that is unlawful and has the consequence of causing injury to the victim that the law classifies as a wound or grevious bodily harm. Nagel, Thomas.

In other words, acus reus means the... ...Actus Reus and Mens Rea ACTEUS REUS The element of actus reus can be said to have mainly three parts, (i) the act which is performed by the individual, usually termed as conduct, (ii) The consequences or results of such an act in the surrounding circumstances which is termed as injury and (iii) the act is not permitted by law. Actus reus

1. A abstains from doing so in order that B may be drowned. With involuntary manslaughter divided into three types with their various elements, if the defendant justifies these elements, and the jury finds him liable to commit the offence, he is therefore guilty of manslaughter. Often parents who do not have custody of their biological children still have obligations to them in terms of providing financial assistance. The actus reus includes the state of affairs or circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence, together with the results or consequences (if any) that flow from that act or omission.

While cleaning the display Joseph picks up and aims the firearm at other displays in the museum and playfully pulls the trigger.


Note relevance of ‘killing’ v ‘letting die’.

For example, burning the house or shooting someone is an actus reus element (Siegel, 2009). Actus Reus is the Latin word for the guilty or wrongful act. For example, parents have a duty to protect their children from harm.

i. Actus Reus – Wrongful Act/Physical Act The actus reus and the mens rea for murder must be present but where the mens rea is absent, it is said to be involuntary manslaughter.

Voluntary acts – controlled by the actor

if the defendant acts out of reflex because of another force, it is, INTRODUCTION child accidentally puts hand on D’s genitals in Speck, but D is guilty of an offence by positive act). seen in the case of Hill v baxter 1958- in this case the court gave examples in a situation where a driver of a car would not be driving voluntary e.g. Circumstance: property belongs to another. Mens Rea – Wrongful State of Mind/Mental Element

When someone creates a dangerous situation, one might also incur a duty to mitigate the harm, or offer restitution.

• Actus Reus

Omission In relation to omissions, Stephens J stated, “If A sees B drowning and can save him by holding out his hand. ii.

Although Susan fantasizes about causing harm to others she neither harms them, nor does she intend to harm them merely by thinking about harming them. This was demonstrated in R v Dytham, where a policeman was found guilty of an offence for failing to intervene in a fight.