By a guilty mind in other words there are two

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by a guilty mind. In other words, there are two conditions before which fulfillment penal 16 Cf, for instance, M. Haralambos & R.M. Heald, Sociology: Themes & Perspectives, Oxford University Press, New Delhi.1980, 407-452.
131 | P a g e JILJ 2010 responsibility can rightly be imposed. One is the doing of some act by the person to be held liable. This is technically referred to as the ‘ actus reus’ literally meaning the ‘physical guilty act’. According to Fitzgerald, “a man is to be accounted responsible only for what he himself does, not for what other persons do, or for events independent of human activity altogether”. 17 The other is the guilty mind technically called the ‘ mens rea’ with which the act is done. In the words of Fitzgerald, It is not enough that a man has done some act which on account of its mischievous results the law prohibits; before the law can justly punish the act, an inquiry must be made into the mental attitude of the doer. For although the act may have been objectively wrongful, the mind and the will of the doer man have been innocent. 18 The implication is that a man is penally responsible only for those wrongful acts which he does either willfully or recklessly. Then and only then is the actus reus accompanied by the mens rea . Be that as it may, the above general rule is subject to exceptions. First, criminal law may include provisions penalizing mere negligence, even though this may result from simple inadvertence. Secondly, the law may create offences of strict liability, where guilt may exist without intention, recklessness or even negligence. In what immediately follows, the researcher will seriatim consider in relative detail these conditions of liability analyzing, first, the conception of an act, and secondly, that of mens rea in its forms of intention, recklessness and negligence. Actus Reus The actus reus of a crime is the physical element of an offence. It may consist of an act, or of an omission, or more rarely of what is described as a passive state of affairs. According to Okonkwo, actus reus of a crime “may include not only the conduct of the accused, but also the events or consequences of that conduct”. 19 While the former may be illustrated with a flourishing of one’s fist at another in view of a criminal assault, the latter can be exemplified with the injury resulting to the victim from the firing of a gun by the accused. Okonkwo also observes that certain other physical circumstances may be material to the proof of an offence. 20 For instance, in the offence of fraud by a trustee in relation to trust property under the Nigerian Criminal Code, the accused must be a trustee. 21 Again, on a charge of stealing, the property in question must fall into the category of “things capable of being stolen”. 22 Hence, we are left with rather negative definition that “ actus reus means the whole definition of a crime with the exception of the mental element”. 23 We shall limit ourselves to discussing how act or omission can constitute an actus reus of an offence. First, an act can amount to the physical element in

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