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Mens Rea. Learning Objectives To recall the elements required to prove mens rea for murder To identify and apply relevant cases Practice Past exam question on Murder. Mens Rea. Malice Aforethought. Express Malice Aforethought. Implied Malice Aforethought. Kill. Cause GBH.

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mens rea

Mens Rea

Learning Objectives

To recall the elements required to prove mensrea for murder

To identify and apply relevant cases

Practice Past exam question on Murder

mens rea1
Mens Rea

Malice Aforethought


Malice Aforethought


Malice Aforethought


Cause GBH

Intention to _____________

Intention to _____________

Vickers (1957)

Cunnigham (1981)

mens rea2


Malice Aforethought

Oblique intent: Aim was not the death of victim

Mens Rea

For example



Malice Aforethought

Foresight of consequences

D must have foresaw that he would cause death or serious injury

CJA’1967 s.8


Foresight of consequence is evidence of intention but not intention in itself.

Moloney Guidelines –Lord Bridge

Was death or really serious injury a natural consequence of act?

Did D forsee consequences as being a natural result of act.

  • Task
  • Compare the Moloney guidelines with CJA’67 s.8
  • What is the difference?
  • Which should be followed? Why?

Lord Scarman (HL)

“… the Moloney guidelines… are unsafe and misleading. They require a reference to probability. They also require an explanation that the greater the probability of a consequence the more likely it is that the consequence was foreseen…”


Lord Lane (CA)

How probable was consequence that resulted from D’s voluntary act?

Did D foresee that consequence?

Is this 2 fold test correct?


Lord Steyn (HL)

Jury should be directed that they are not entitled to find the necessary intention unless they feel sure that death or serious injury was a virtual certainty as a result of D’s actions and D knew this

transferred malice
Transferred Malice

Defendant can be guilty if he intended the crime against a different victim

  • If Mensrea is for completely different offence Defendant may not be guilty
  • Eg Man throws stone intending for it to hit people. Stone actually hits and breaks window. Malice cannot be transferred.
  • Pembliton (1874)
key point
Key Point
  • For the offence of Murder to be successful both the the AR and MR must be present
  • (Thabo Meli V R (1954)