Upgrad LLM

Is the court required to read a mens rea requirement into a statute that is silent with regard to the mental state required to make the act a crime


Court :

Brief :
The Court held that Mistake of fact does not stand as a defense to a crime where the statute making the act a crime contains no requirement of knowledge of that fact to begin with. In this case the forbidden act is wrong in itself and the legislature has enacted that if anyone does this act, he does so at his own risk.The dissent believes that there can be no conviction of a crime without a finding of criminal intent mens rea.

Citation :
(1875) LR 2 CCR 154

R vs Prince, 1875

Bench:

Cockburn, C.J., Kelly C.B., Grove, Mellor, Lush, Quain, Denman, Archibald, Field, Lindley, Brett and Blackburn, JJ., Cleasby, Amphlett, Bramwell and Pollack, BB.

  • Appellants: R
  • Respondents: Prince

Issue:

Is the court required to read a mens rea requirement into a statute that is silent with regard to the mental state required to make the act a crime?

Facts:

  • The Defendant Henry Prince was convicted for taking a 14-year-old unmarried girl named Annie Phillips out of the possession and without the consent of her parents.
  • At trial, the jury found that although the girl was 14 at the time, she had told Defendant and he had reasonably believed that she was 18.
  • The statute he was convicted under was silent as to the mental state required to make the act a crime. Defendant appeals.
  • The defendant was charged with abduction case.
 

Enroll the Course on 'The Indian Penal Code IPC' by Mr. V.K Maheshwari - Click Here

Appellant's contentions:

  • It was contended that the defendant abducted the minor girl and is punishable under charges of abduction.

Respondent's contentions:

  • The respondent contended that he was provided with false truth of girl being a major and thereby shall not be charged with the case of abduction.

Judgement:

The Court held that “Mistake of fact does not stand as a defense to a crime where the statute making the act a crime contains no requirement of knowledge of that fact to begin with.In this case the forbidden act is wrong in itself and the legislature has enacted that if anyone does this act, he does so at his own risk.The dissent believes that there can be no conviction of a crime without a finding of criminal intent mens rea. A reasonable mistake of fact, where the mistaken belief, if true, would not have resulted in the defendant committing a criminal act, should be an excuse that is implied in all criminal charges”.

-Para 3 (R vs Prince, 1875)

 

RITUPORNA GUPTA
on 21 October 2020
Published in Criminal Law
Views : 215


 Recent Comments

Total: 0







×

Menu

CrPC MASTERCLASS!     |    x