LEGISLATION- COURTS AND POLICING

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LEGISLATION- COURTS AND POLICING

LEGISLATION- COURTS AND POLICING

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Criminal liability is the basic fact that unlocks the logical structure of criminal law. Every element of crime that must be proved by the prosecutor beyond reasonable shadow of doubts constitutes a principle of criminal liability (Gardner& Anderson 1996: 56). The general principles Mens Rea and Actus Reus are important principles that help in establishing criminal liability of an individual (Gardner& Anderson 1996: 68). For one to have been convicted of committing a crime, the two principles must be proved beyond reasonable shadow of doubts. The principle of Actus Reus mainly consist of ongoing course of conduct, and not just one that occurs at a one instant in time (Fletcher1996:48).  For example the Actus Reus of assault may continue during a long fight while Actus Reus of rape may extend to the moment of initial non-consensual penetration to the moment of withdrawal (Fletcher1996:63). There are important factors that are considered in Actus Reus principle. Involuntariness as seen in cases like sleep-walking, hypnotic behavior and others are considered to be forces beyond individual control and they are not considered in the Actus Reus (Posner 2004: 112). However, some activities like drowsy-driving are considered a voluntary because it creates a risk of involuntary act. On the other hand, there is manifest criminality where one is caught red-handed where Actus Reus is proved beyond reasonable doubt (Posner 2004: 115). Similarly, there is possession and procuring in which one may procure goods or possess them with intent of committing a crime. Once the court has proved that the individual was actually committing the crime, the other principle that needs to be proved is Mens Rea. The principle of Mens Rea mainly entails proving the intent to commit that particular crime(Posner 2004: 121). This principle is ideally difficult to prove. Proving the principle of Mens Rea means that the court has to prove prior intent of the accused to commit the crime one has been accused of. It is particularly difficult to prove because one cannot see human intent. Unlike Actus Reus, where one is caught in the process of committing the crime, the principle of Mens Rea cannot be proved even with the modern sophisticated technology. Mens Rea is only proved beyond reasonable shadow of doubts through confession but defendants will rarely confess their true intention in references to crime they are accused of (Samaha1999:71). However, psychoanalysis of an individual’s prior or immediate behavior can be used by the witnessed to accuse an individual under the principles of Mens Rea.