Lack of Intent

To be found guilty of a criminal offence, the prosecution must prove that the accused committed an offence with specific intent of committing a crime.

Intent is a vital element of many criminal offences. Lack of intent can be raised when a person charged with an offence can show their actions were involuntarily, unintentional, or caused by unforeseeable circumstances.

According to Victorian criminal law, for an act to be intentional, it must:

  • Be voluntary and one the accused means to be engaged in;

  • Be founded on circumstances which are foreseeable and which the accused believes exist or will exist;

  • Result in outcomes which are intended by accused and which will come about in the ordinary course of events.

Lack of intent is not a defence according to Victorian legislation or criminal law, however it is raised as an alternative explanation to the prosecutor’s argument. Examples where lack of intent may be relevant include charges of assault or murder, where the actions of the accused result in the serious injury or death of another person.

For instance, if a person tripped and fell, causing injury to another person, their conduct does not include the intent necessary to warrant a charge of assault. Accordingly, if a person charged with murder was acting recklessly or negligently, and did not intend the death of another person, their charge may be downgraded to manslaughter.

Charged with a Criminal Offence or Under Investigation?

Getting the best legal representation is the best way to secure a positive outcome. If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence or are under investigation, Garde Wilson Lawyers are here to help.

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