We generally blame people more for
deliberately doing things rather than for negligently or recklessly doing something. Mens rea in criminal law is concerned
with the state of mind of an individual, which most crimes need proof of. When
unnecessary to have, it is known as a strict liability. Intention is the most
dominant, it generally asks for the highest degree of fault from the rest, as
only intention will suffice for murder or grievous bodily harm. The actus reus
of murder is an act of unlawful killing of an individual, however the mens rea
for murder is intention. Intention is a mental element caused by an
individual’s act that is proven by the surrounding evidence of the outcome.
Intention consists of only mens rea and is defined so as to cause an intention
to a specific outcome. Defining the meaning of intention has always been a
flexible and difficult concept to be interpreted by courts in murder cases, due
to judiciaries’ failure to be very clear and precise. Therefore, intention is
split into two categories, being direct intention and oblique intention. Firstly,
direct intention is the simplest form of intention as the defendant in murder
cases usually makes his intention very evident. Direct intention also exists
when an individual undertakes an act of conduct to achieve an outcome that
indeed occurs. The conduct element usually fulfills the desired result. In
direct intention the individual must execute two main requirements, to
tantamount to one’s purpose and to have a foresight of certainty.1
On the other hand, the more complex intention is known as oblique intention.
Oblique intention exists when undertaking an action to achieve a desired
result, knowing that the consequences will also bring about another outcome. Contrastingly,
it requires foresight of the consequences but does not desire it. As the
intention gets more complex, the courts have not satisfactorily found an appropriate
test to refer to in cases. The courts adapt to two propositions when an oblique
intention occurs, virtual certainty and whether it is highly probable to occur.2

1 P. Whelan, ‘Cartel Criminalization And
The Challenge Of ‘Moral Wrongfulness’ (2013) 33 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

2 Itzhak Kugler, ‘The Definition Of
Oblique Intention’ (2004) 68 The Journal of Criminal Law


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