Specific and basic intent
Specific and basic intent

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Specific and basic intent
  • Specific intent—definition
  • Effect of offence being one of either specific or basic intent
  • Admission of evidence of defendant’s bad character
  • Judge's directions to the jury

Specific intent—definition

Offences requiring specific intent are of two kinds:DPP v Majewski [1976] 2 All ER 142DPP v Beard [1920] AC 479R v Heard [2008] QB 43

  1. where the mental element of the offence requires a purposive intent rather than recklessness, eg murder requires an intent to kill or do grievous bodily harm,

  2. where the offence is one of intent to do something beyond the act forming the offence (sometimes referred to as ‘ulterior intent’)

Basic intent—definition

Where an offence may be committed intentionally or recklessly, it is an offence of basic intent.

Offences of specific intent include:

  1. murder

  2. robberyTA 1968, s 8

  3. wounding with intentOATPA 1861, s 18

  4. burglaryTA 1968, s 9(1)(a)

  5. any attempt to commit an offence

  6. handling stolen goods, andTA 1968, s 22

  7. destroying or damaging property intending to destroy or damage propertyCDA 1971, s 1

Offences of basic intent include:

  1. manslaughter

  2. malicious wounding

Related documents: