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James (Parent) April 20 2017
James (Parent) March 29 2017
Coincidence of actus reus and mens rea is the principle that both the mental and physical element of the crime must be present in order for someone to be liable for murder. This is often called the contemporaneity rule and is often trickier than it seems.
In some cases it can be difficult to tell when intent came into play and as a result it is difficult for the courts to know if they coincided. The mens rea or actus reus don't have to start at the same time, for example I can have the intent to murder someone before I go out and do it, or I could push someone over by accident and then after realising they are vulnerable/unconscious etc take a blow which kills them, but it must coincide at some point during the process.
If, for example, I was really mad at my neighbour and wanted to do something, like say hurt them, I have the intent to do so. If when I go over there we have a chat and it goes well, I may stop wanting to do that and therefore the intent goes. However the next day when I'm reversing my car I accidentally ride over their foot - this would be the actus reus present of me hurting them, but the mens rea is not present at that time.
There are various cases where the courts had to consider this:
Thabo Meli v R - This is quite a case and is excellent for demonstrating this principle. 4 people had planned to kill a man and make it look like an accident. (guilty mind) They took him, beat him over the head, and believing [wrongly] that he was dead, threw him over a cliff. Medical evidence confirmed that the man had died AFTER being thrown down the cliff due to exposure. They appealed their murder conviction by stating that when the mens rea had developed, he had not died (despite the hit over the head), and that when he did die, the intent was not present (they didn't mean for him to die of exposure) therefore the two did not coincide. Thankfully the judge decided that to separate the two was impossible and that one was a direct result from the other and therefore it would be an artificial separation, but the principle can be seen in action, in the contect of a murder trial.
Fagan v Metropolitan Police - This is case where a man who was arguing with the police from inside his car accidentally by reversing the car ran over an officer's foot. Here the actus reus was present, but due to him being unaware of what was happening, he would not in fact be liable as he did not have the guilty mind (mens rea). He had stopped his car on one of the officers feet - when they alerted him to this, he decided to not move his car - this is when the mens rea developed, because now he knew of the situation, he developed the guilty mind by staying on the officer's foot.see more
Emile Durkheim did a study about suicide rates - he compared the suicide rates between Catholics and Protestants, and found that there was less suicides amongst Catholics, and also that less women committed suicide than men.
He tried to identify why this was the case, and came up with four types of suicide (though applying them to certain instances may not be as clear-cut, it is definitely a good starting point)
He at first split them in terms of integration with outer society. He thought that this affected individuals in two different ways:
Egoistic suicide - too weak integration; people did not have enough social bonds and therefore did not think that their death would affect society, so felt it was easier to do so. (an example of this could potentially be an outlier of society, a drug taker etc.)
Altruistic suicide - this was too much integration, in which the person is so integrated they have no life of their own, the only way to gain back their life is by ending it (in today's society, this can be seen in the suicides of carers, who have extremely high suicide rates, nurses etc.)
He then looked and separated between the amount of regulation that the person had in their life.
Anomic suicide - this is the suicide which is committed through too little regulation in a person's life. This can be seen mostly in cases of dramatic economic and social change (for example, the change in the economy in Greece has affected the once low suicide rate) [Another example could be potentially veterans, who once had a lot of regulation and have then exited the military with no regulation and strict rules to adhere by, losing their sense of direction]
Fatalistic suicide - this is when the person feels that there is too much control in their life - for example in cases where people are incarcerated, and the only escape that they can get (the only way to regain control for themselves) is to commit suicide.
Generally you see anomic suicide paired up with egoistic suicide due to the weak integration & weak regulatory elements, and as a result you also see altruistic and fatalistic suicides paired up. This is not always the case and sometimes you can have cases where all elements are fulfilled to some degree. This is one of the main arguments against Durkheim's theory of suicide as it is difficult to 'box' certain people's suicides depending on their level of integration or regulation they have from society.see more