Actus Reus and Mens Rea




To be considered one of the best criminal lawyers in Brampton, we feel it is our duty educate the public on criminal law terminology. Common with all criminal offences in Canada are the basic requirements that the Crown must prove there was an action or omission (known as the "actus reus") and that there was a simultaneous criminal intent (known as the "mens rea") within particular circumstance. What constitutes an actus reus and mens rea depends on the offence itself which is defined by Canadian law. As criminal lawyers in Brampton, we thoroughly research all allegations, in order to ascertain these principles. For example, a drug possession charge requires proving mens rea by establishing that the individual had knowledge of the presence of the substance on their person. An assault, however, requires proving mens rea by establishing an intention to apply force. In a trial situation, it is imperative that the Crown must prove the elements of the particularized charge and not simply the plain definition of the offence as found in the Code.


Actus Reus


Actus reus refers to the act or omission that comprise the physical elements of a crime as required by statute. The actus reus includes only voluntary bodily movements. There are three types of actus reus, which include a voluntary act, possession, and omission. Possession is also a type of actus reus when an individual is in the possession of or has the possession of an item that is known by the individual to be illegal under the law. Omission is satisfied when a person does not act when that person is required under law to do so.


Mens Rea


Have you ever wondered why a suspect is charged with one crime and not another? Or, have you thought about what type of mindset a person might have when they commit or carry out a crime? Most crimes require what lawyers refer to as "mens rea", which is Latin for a "guilty mind". In other words, what was the defendant's mental state and what did the defendant intend when the crime was committed. Mens rea allows the criminal justice system to differentiate between someone who did not mean to commit a crime and someone who intentionally set out to commit a crime. Mens rea is the mental element of a person's intention to commit a crime; or knowledge that one's action or lack of action would cause a crime to be committed. It is a necessary element of many crimes. As a general rule, someone who acted without mental fault is not liable in criminal law. Schedule a free consultation at our criminal law firm in Brampton to meet with Brampton criminal lawyer Bally Hundal.