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In the area of criminal law, mens rea, the Latin term “guilty mind”, is often a necessary element of a crime. Many crimes require a specific mental intent on the part of the wrongdoer in order to qualify as a restricted offence. Examples of the requiredmens rea in criminal statutes include intent (or purpose), knowledge, recklessness or negligence. Some “strict liability” crimes do not require mens rea in order to constitute an offence. For example, in civil law, it is not usually necessary to prove a mental element to establish liability for breach of contract.

“Although it was established that the defendant caused the accident, he did not possess the requisite mens rea for the offence and was therefore acquitted.”