Common law Is that part of English law which is not the result of legislation, It originated in the custom of the people and was justified and Developed by the decisions and rulings of the judges. Murder is an Offence at common law. The punishment for it is, however, governed by Statute. There are offences where the punishment is not laid down by Statute. Actus reus Is understood as meaning the act or the omission (or other event) Indicated in the definition of the crime charged together with any Surrounding circumstances, other than the accused's state of mind or Any defence, and any consequences of that act which are indicated by The definition. There can be no criminal Liability unless the whole actus reus Is proved.
Mens rea Means the mental state expressly or impliedly required by the Definition of the offence charged. This varies from offence to Offence but typical instances are intention, recklessness and guilty Knowledge.Direct intention The accused acts intentionally with Reference to a particular consequence: a) if he/she aimed at Achieving a particular consequence and believed he/she was likely to Succeed; b) if he/she aimed at achieving a particular consequence Although he/she did not expect thay her/his act would do so; c) if He/she aimed at achieving a particular consequence (although he/she Did not desire it in itself) in order to achieve an objective which He/she desired.
Oblique Intention: a) Although not aimed at by The accused, it was foreseen by her/him as certain to result; b) Although not aimed at by the accused, it was foreseen by her/him That it will probably result.
Further (or 'ulterior') intention Intention of the Accused which does not relate to a consequence of his conduct Required by the definition of the actus reus of the crime charged but Relates instead to something ulterior to it.
Recklessness (subjective) means the conscious Taking of an unjustified risk. It must be admitted that oblique Intention can be regarded as a species of recklessness.
Recklessness (objective) means the taking of an Unjustified risk of which the accused is not aware but ought to be. (better: negligence)
Guilty knowledge There are three degrees: 1) Actual Knowledge which may be inferred from The conduct of the accused; 2) willful Blindness or connivance; 3) constructive knowledge Which exists where a person did not know but ought to have known (the Person failed to make the enquiries which a reasonable and prudent Person would make)..
Recklessness (objective) means the taking of an Unjustified risk of which the accused is not aware but ought to be. (better: negligence).
Negligence Is the non-compliance with a standard of conduct in relation to a Risk which is reasonably intelligible. It connotes blameworthy Inadvertence on the part of the accused.
Motive is Secondary intention. The distinction between 'further intention' and 'motive' is difficult to draw, the former being relevant simply Because it is specified in the definition of a particular offence. The general rule is that the accused's motives, good or bad, are Irrelevant to his criminal liability.
Ignorance and Mistake of law is usually no defence And cannot exempt from criminal liability.
Burden of proof The general rule is that the prosecution has the burden of proving The actus reus and mens rea beyond reasonable doubt. All questions of Fact have to be determined by the jury. But the judge or magistrate Can withdraw a case, or an issue in a case, from the jury on the Ground that the supporting evidence is in law insufficient. And the Judge or magistrate has the task of summing-up for the jury. In three Exceptional cases the burden of proving certain exculpating facts is Placed on the accused: 1) Defence of insanity; 2) express statutory Provision; 3) exemptions in statutory offences.
Burden of Adducing evidence lies with the Prosecution, too. It is normally incumbent on the accused to adduce Sufficient evidence to raise a particular defence.
Presumption Proof may be aided by certain presumptions: a) irrebuttable presumption of law (the jury must find that the presumed fact Exists); b) rebuttable presumption of law (the jury must find that The presumed fact exists unless sufficient evidence to the contrary Is adduced); c) presumption of fact (the jury may find that the Presumed fact exists on proof of some other fact, e.G. The jury is Entitled to infer guilty knowledge or criminal intent from the fact That the prohibited act was done by the accused).
Proof of mens rea The mere doing by the accused of the prohibited act can justify an Inference that he/she did it voluntarily, with knowledge of the Surrounging circumstances, and , where relevant, with the intention Of producing its normal consequences.