The elements of a crime are the components that must be present to demonstrate that someone is guilty of a crime.
There are certain facts that is needed to be kept in mind while dealing about the elements of crime, such as – burden of proof, geographical nexus, time and place, Mens Rea and Actus Reus, voluntariness, intoxication, omissions, automatism, mental illness and intent, honest and reasonable mistake, criminal negligence and recklessness, maliciously, corporations etc.
Burden of Proof
The total responsibility always lies upon the crown to prove each and every element of the offence going beyond any doubt. Certainly, this job is a tough one.
If all the physical elements of the crime is in somewhere else and if there is a “geographical nexus” between the offence and the NSW, then according to the crime act, NSW courts will have the jurisdiction over everything. And this geographical nexus exists only if the offence is committed in the territory of NSW.
Time and Place
Generally the time and place of the offence occurred is not considered as a part of the elements of crime. But depending on the case, the information about the time and place of an offence can become essential. Suppose, the person accused can use the time or place of the offence occurred as his plea and show his alibi that he/she was not present on that spot while the offence was occurring.
Mens Rea and Actus Reus
It is often mentioned by the lawyers to establish “Actus Reus” and “Mens Rea” as a proceeding strategy. Both these terms are Latin. Mens Rea is generally meant to be the state of mind which is required to commit any kind of crime. On the contrary, “Actus Reus” means the physical acts of the accused person which are required to show in front of the jury to state the fact that an offense has been committed.
Mens Rea and Actus Reus must exist simultaneously. That means, it is necessary and obvious to have the intention to commit a crime while the crime is being committed. But generally, Actus Reus is considered as the whole. So that means, if the victim is found dead before the specific offense has been committed, then the accused gets a conviction.
According to this fact, an unwilled hit or spasm will not be considered as any “Actus Reus”. Suppose the offence is shooting a person or stabbing someone. Now, if turns out that the accused have done it accidentally or unintentionally then it will not be considered as an act of offense according to the law. However, the authority of judging guiltiness will be totally on the jury and the final decision will be given by the jury as well.
Intoxication is a solid defense for the offences like murder, stabbing or a street or bar fight or so on. It is relevant to the establishment of the lack of intent of the lacks of offences.
If there is no voluntarism, then there will be no “Actus Reus”. However, the responsibility of judging the guilt of the accused is totally upon the jury. The common states that could be considered as automatism are – sleep walking, concussion, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, epilepsy, tired sleep, mental illness etc.
Honest and Reasonable Mistakes
If I can be proved that the accused have done an honest and reasonable mistake being driven by wrong beliefs then he/she might be declared not guilty. However, being ignorant about any law does not provide a defense.
There are some other facts also which are remaining undiscussed and can be considered as an element of crime under different circumstances such as criminal negligence and recklessness, maliciously, corporations etc.
This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers. Criminal lawyers Penrith ,Criminal lawyers Wollongong, Criminal Lawyers Parramatta, Criminal Lawyers Sydney
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.