noun[mass noun] Law
The intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime, as opposed to the action or conduct of the accused: a mistaken belief in consent meant that the defendant lacked mens rea Compare with actus reus.
More example sentences
- An injury caused without mens rea might be grounds for civil liability but typically not for criminal.
- There was no requirement in the relevant act that his mens rea should relate to a named victim.
- The mens rea or mental element of a crime is usually based on the intention of the accused at the time.
Latin, literally 'guilty mind'.
Definition of mens rea in:
- The US English dictionary