Intention in Criminal Cases

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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The key issue in this case is Intention. The big question, which I will try to answer, is whether or not Chris and Dorris intended to kill Andrew. Intention can often be linked to the Mens Rea, which can also be described as the guilty mind. Most crimes have to have included a Mens Rea and an Actus Reus. Without the Mens Rea there is no crime unless a reasonable man could foresee the outcome. Therefore Chris could be held liable for the death of Andrew even though he did not intend to kill him, his only intentions were to save Bill. The reason for this is that Doris a doctor gave her professional opinion to him, which gave him the foresight of the death and made him liable. However Chris would have a number of defences the first would be that he had a duty to fulfil, as a fireman he has the duty of saving lives.

If he simply omitted to carry out his duty then he would be in breach of his contracted service to the public. So he had to act in the correct way as to how he felt was best. It could also be argued that he acted out of necessity and chose the lesser of two evils. The first option he had was to leave the both of them and let them die, the second was to let one die and save the other. The first option was the worst action to carry out and the second was the better of actions. So his actions were just. Necessity works as a complete defence however there is some confusion as to when necessity is involved as the courts are not clear as to whether it works or not. They have developed Duress...