Most serious crimes require proof that the defendant had a mens rea, such as intention or recklessness. However, some crimes require no mens rea, and they are known as strict liability offences. For a strict liability all that is required is proof of an actus reus: for example, that the defendant caused a particular result or produced a state of affairs. Some crimes are only partially strict liability: the mens rea needs to relate only to a part of the actus reus, or an aspect of it. For example, in relation to the offence of rape of an under-13-year-old, the defendant needs to intend to penetrate the victim, but there is no need to show that he had any mens rea in relation to the age. Grant Lamond suggests that when a crime requires no mens rea in relation to any part of the actus reus it should be described as a strict liability crime in the narrow sense, and when it requires a mens rea only for some elements of the actus reus it should be described as a strict liability crime in the broad sense.
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- Strict Liability
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- CHAPTER 11