|mens rea (ˈmɛnz ˈreɪə)|
|law Compare actus reus a criminal intention or knowledge that an act is wrong. It is assumed to be an ingredient of all criminal offences although some minor statutory offences are punishable irrespective of it|
|[Latin, literally: guilty mind]|
|Main Entry:||mens rea|
|Part of Speech:||n|
|Definition:||the intention to commit a wrongful act, the element that establishes criminal responsibility; a criminal mind|
|Etymology:||Latin 'guilty mind'|
in Anglo-American law, criminal intent or evil mind. In general, the definition of a criminal offense involves not only an act or omission and its consequences but also the accompanying mental state of the actor. All criminal systems require an element of criminal intent for most crimes. Only Anglo-American systems, however, employ the term mens rea. Countries such as France and Japan simply specify that there must be a criminal intent unless a specific statute directs otherwise.
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