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LL1014 CRIMINAL LAW I - Essay Example

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Both law and morals regulate human conduct in allied but essentially distinct ways. Law tells us what is right, while ethics is not so categorical and definite in its approach. The opinion was also supported by Maitland in connection to the British law(Pollock and Maitland, History of English law, vol.2). Miller defines crime “ to be the commission or the omission of an act which the law forbids or commands under pain of a punishment to be imposed by the state by a proceeding in its own name”( Miller, Criminal Law, p.15 ). The basis of criminal law is that there are certain standards of behaviour of moral principles which society requires to be observed (Devlin P. 1965, The Enforcement of morals, p.6-7). Law prescribes consequences for its breach. The function of criminal law as spotlighted by the Wolfenden Committee Report (1958), is to preserve public order and decency (Berg C. 1959, Fear,Punishment,Anxiety and The Wolfenden Report). We call such consequences liabilities. Liability is the bond of necessity that exist between the wrong doer and the remedy of the wrong. Having gone through the definition of crime and criminal liability, it would be profitable to have a precise idea of the essential conditions which give rise to criminal liability. The general conditions of criminal liability are indicated with sufficient accuracy in the maxim “actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea”, that is the act alone does not amount to guilt, it must be accompanied by a guilty mind. From this maxim follows another proposition: “actus me invito factus non est mens actus” which means “an act done by a person against his will is not his act at all”.
“ Actus reus” is such result of human conduct as the law seeks to prevent. The act done or omitted must be an act forbidden or commanded by some law. Russel calls “actus reus” as the physical result of human conduct ( Russel, Crime,vol.1,p.20). ...Show more
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