GLOSSARY

Mens rea definition

What does Mens rea mean?

The 'guilty mind', the intent element of an offence.

Properly translated the term means “criminal intention”, or an intention to do the act which is made penal by statute or the common law. However, the term is used to embrace any mental element that may be an ingredient of a criminal offence, eg recklessness, knowledge. It is necessary to turn to the definition of the particular offence to ascertain the mens rea which must be proved. The mental and other components of a criminal offence can, however, on occasions be difficult to distinguish, eg “possessing”, “keeping”, “permitting”. These terms import both physical and mental elements.


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Mens rea is referenced 1 in Halsbury's Laws of England

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