Does mens rea apply here?

4228634057_49beb4eb6a_oDon’t want to give too much away but the story, which had been charging along on its first rewrite, has struck a snag.

The issue is:

Woman [A] observes a killing of a woman [B] by someone hidden [C].

The gun is thrown down by C who then seems to have disappeared.

A walks up to B, picks up the discarded gun and puts another bullet into B.

B had been a pretty bad person, blackmailing both A and C, so no one mourned her death.

There were about two minutes between the two shootings.

A had been there to remonstrate with B.

Her putting of a bullet into the dead B was in the nature of “and that goes for me too”.

In the criminal law in the United States, the definition of a given offense generally includes up to three kinds of “elements”: the actus reus, or guilty conduct; the mens rea, or guilty mental state; and the attendant (sometimes “external”) circumstances.

This was in England though.   Has A committed a crime and if so, which one?

15 Responses to “Does mens rea apply here?”

  1. sackerson January 31, 2013 at 19:41 Permalink

    Would your readers be more, or less, exercised if the issue was women’s rea?

  2. Dave January 31, 2013 at 19:54 Permalink

    That girl is very attractive. I dont care that shes a mass murderer.
    Shes smoking HOT.

  3. Lemmi January 31, 2013 at 19:58 Permalink

    If B was already dead then A cannot be convicted of murder or manslaughter, as far as I know. I don’t know if by using the gun A has destroyed any evidence of C using the gun and has committed an offence.

  4. dearieme January 31, 2013 at 20:08 Permalink

    It was a professional foul, m’Lud.

  5. James Higham January 31, 2013 at 20:09 Permalink

    Sackers – oo, you are awful.

    Dave – that is so.

    Lemmi – it’s a curly one.

    Dearieme – but was it a crime?

  6. A K Haart January 31, 2013 at 20:11 Permalink

    As far as the physical evidence goes, A is now the more likely suspect. There may be no way of telling which bullet was fired by A and which by C.

    Maybe only A will know the answer to this if C didn’t check that B was actually dead and didn’t see the inflicted wound.

    Potentially complicated.

  7. Tondew January 31, 2013 at 20:36 Permalink

    Interfereing with evidence?

  8. Tondew January 31, 2013 at 20:46 Permalink

    Thinking again (twice in one night is a lot for me) handling a firearm without a licence, and I suppose theft of a bullet.

  9. James Higham January 31, 2013 at 20:51 Permalink

    Yes, complicated. The licence bit or tampering are the way they might go on her.

  10. ubermouth January 31, 2013 at 22:31 Permalink

    Isn’t there also a crime against a human body Tondew?

  11. Ian Hills January 31, 2013 at 23:09 Permalink

    None of them are guilty, but another white male celebrity will be accused of paedophilia.

  12. Don QuiScottie January 31, 2013 at 23:24 Permalink

    Much as I try to keep my eyes focused on that lady’s gun, they just can’t help wandering elsewhere. And of course she is presumably saying, “Make love to me right now or I will shoot you”… (a man can dream…). Oh…Many crimes, by the way, including discharging the firearm (it is an offence in England), violating a dead body (if it was dead), interfering with evidence, failing to immediately report a serious crime, and she’d quite possibly be done for collaborating in murder if a coroner could not be 100% certain the first shot was fatal.. oh and probably breach of the peace and violation of EU noise abatement regulations, and possibly lead pollution of the environment too..

  13. Amfortas February 1, 2013 at 00:29 Permalink

    Can’t be a crime if a woman does it. There is a Law, sub-section, para wotsit somewhere that says that.

    Also, if B were Julia Gillard or Nicola Roxon, A should get an Australia Day Award and given an Uzi to deal with the rest of the lying, corrupt feminist louts who comprise the Government.

  14. James Higham February 1, 2013 at 07:15 Permalink

    I can honestly say that my eyes were on the gun and probably the overall non-ugliness of the shot, plus the word Life. In a vague way I saw the other but it was only when posted and someone mentioned it I looked more closely and wow – they are big, are they not?

    I wove DQS’s list of charges into the story and am past there now. Thanks all.

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