Criminal Law: Coincidence Principle

August 3, 2023

The coincidence principle ensures that liability will only arise where a defendant’s mens rea and actus reus are present at the same time in the commission of an offence. Therefore, for the defendant to be liable for the specified offence, they must have possessed the requisite mental state at the same time they committed the criminal act. Generally, both elements must be present simultaneously for criminal liability to be established; however, this principle can be stretched to find liability for constructive offences and basic-intent offences.

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