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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Murder Versus Manslaughter

The acid test of murder is intention and what the law calls mens rea or guilty mind. Guilty intention is described as malice aforethought and it is this which distinguishes it from manslaughter. The classic definition of murder based on malice aforethought goes back to English Common Law and takes account of the age and mental status of the offender. This was set out by Lord Chief Justice Edward Coke (1552-1634) when he referred to "a man of sound memory and at the age of discretion." In practical terms, this meant an individual who was not insane and aged at least ten years.

Robin Odell, The Mammoth Book of Bizarre Crimes, 2010

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