What is Crime | Actus reus | Mens rea ?

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Crime: Crime is an unlawful act done by a person and it is punishable by the law for the public welfare. Crime can also defined as an unlawful act done with guilty mind.

Maxim Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea: Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea means an act does not make guilty unless the illegal act must be done with a guilty mind. 

There are two Elements/Ingredients/Components of Crime:

  1. Actus reus
  2. Mens rea

Actus reus: It is a Latin term for the guilty Act. Actus Reus is the illegal act done by a person. Actus reus is the result of the human conduct. Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea further explains that an act does not make guilty unless the illegal act must be done with a guilty mind. This maxim is used to determine whether an Act committed by a person is an crime or not.

Example : “A” stabbed “B” with Knife. The result is the injury to “B”. It means the injury is the result of Actus reus.

Mens rea: It is a Latin term for the guilty Mind. Mens rea is one of the essential element of criminal liability. Mens rea has been often defined based on mental state of the the accused and the intent of the accused when the crime was committed. No act is criminal unless the doer does it with guilty mind.

Example: “A” slipped and he lost his balance and pull down “B” with him. “B” hit his head against the wall and died due to head injury. In this case “A” is not held guilty of murder as the “A” was not having guilty mind (Mens rea) when the crime was committed.