WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ACTUS NON FACIT REUM, NISI MENS SIT REA?

‘Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit real’ is a maxim which means an act doesn’t make any anyone guilty unless there is a criminal intention condition of penal liability-

  1. Actus Reus- Physical act
  2. Mens rea- Guilty mind

Actus Reus- human conduct in the specified circumstances such that prohibited by law.

Mens Rea- a person has intentionally or knowingly done a prohibited act.

Doing of some act by the person held liable is necessary. Crime is a wrong against the society. In criminal law attempt and preparation also subject a person to criminal liability.

Actus reus constituted by the event and not by the activity which caused the event. An act must be prohibited by law and mens rea covers mental state and other similar condition.

There can be actus reus without mens reus without mens rea eg an infant of 2 yr playing with pistol kill someone.

An act is subject to the control of human will. Mens rea extend to all three parts:

  1. originated mentally or physically.
  2. Circumstances.
  3. Its consequences

Mens rea with some cat done towards the crime necessary for constituting liability. Mens rea requires both will direct towards certain act and knowledge of consequences.

An act is intentionally when it is the outcome of the determination of the person’s will and is foreseen and desired by person. A man is penalty responsible only for those wrongful acts which he does either willfully or recklessly. Wrongdoer is liable only for such consequences of his acts, forbearances or omission as he either foresaw or must be deemed to have foreseen because a common man of ordinary intelligence would have foreseen them and for those consequences of his act done with such absence of that care and skill which the person alleged to be negligent was under a duty to manifest in the circumstances towards the person alleging negligence.

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