The intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime, as opposed to the action or conduct of the accused. Compare with actus reus.
- 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.
Mid 19th century: Latin, literally 'guilty mind'.
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