This is an extract of our Coincidence Of Actus Reus & Mens Rea document, which we sell as part of our Irish Criminal Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Trinity College Dublin students.
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Coincidence of Actus Reus and Mens Rea Thabo Meli v R (PC 1954) Facts
* The plaintiffs gave a man alcohol to intoxicate him and then attacked him intending to kill him, as part of a preconceived plan.
* Believing him to be dead, which he was not, they threw him off a cliff resulting in his death.
* They appealed against their conviction, claiming that the act of throwing him off a cliff was not accompanied by mens rea. Issue
* Coincidence of mens rea Judgment
* Lord Goddard CJ (concurring)
* Lord Reid (concurring)
* For the purposes of ascertaining mens rea the accused's acts can not be divided up into the assault and the throwing of the man off the cliff - the accused set out to all the acts to achieve their plan and as parts of their plan.
* The crime is not reduced merely because the accused persons were under a misapprehension at some time during their plot.
* LMD de Silva (concurring) R v Church (CA 1965) Facts
* The defendant was charged with the murder of a woman, having dumped her body in a river following an assault.
* The defendant was acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter and appealed his conviction. Issue
* Coincidence of Actus Reus and Mens Rea Judgment (Edmund Davies LJ)
* It was open to the jury to find the accused guilty of murder, even if he believed that the woman was dead when she was thrown in the river. R v Le Brun (CA 1991) Facts
* The accused assaulted his wife, knocking her unconscious, and when he tried to lift her she fell to the ground, which fractured her skull and killed her.
* The trial judge directed that the accused could be found guilty of the murder or manslaughter of the victim, depending on his state of mind during the original assault. Issue
* Coincidence of actus reus and mens rea Judgment
* The actus reus need not coincide in time with the mens rea where the unlawful force and the act causing death are part of the same transaction - certainly this is
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