Jamiu, Toheeb Aremu
The most frequently contentious concept in the determination of criminal responsibility of a suspect is probably mens rea. This may be attributed to the inability of a sitting judge to readily as certain the guilty mind of an accused being a mental state.
Theoretically, mens rea is an English Common Law concept used to denote the guilty mind of a suspect in deciding his criminal culpability. It is a common knowledge that a person cannot be held criminally responsible for an act or omission which occurs independently of the exercise of his will because it is said, quite often that, not even the Devil knows the real intention of a man.
Contradistinctively, it is the judges that are charged with the duty of determining both the guilty act and the guilty mind of an accused. The mens rea principle seems to suggest that a person who acts unintentionally is not liable under criminal law.
However, it appears that this is not always the case as in certain circumstances a person may be liable for his unintended criminal act(s). This article reviews one of the constituent elements of a crime (mens rea) by analyzing dif erent legislative provisions and judicial pronouncements on its relevance.
It is observed that mens rea is a relevant element in the determination of criminal responsibility of an accused even though it scarcely comes up in strict liability offences and cases of transferred intent.
Keywords: Mens Rea, Criminal Responsibility, Criminal Legislation, Court, Relevance
To download the full article, click on the link below