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Transcript of Contemporaneity Rule
The Privy Council treated the chain of events as a continuing actus reus. The actus reus of causing death started with the victim being struck on the head and continued until he died of exposure. It was sufficient that at some time during that chain of events the defendants had mens rea. CHURCH D dumped the body of a woman (whom he thought was dead) into a river. In fact she was unconscious (he’d hit her) and she later drowned. The CA said this was ‘one transaction’ and D was convicted of manslaughter. Fagan v MPC (1968)
The defendant accidentally drove his car on to a policeman's foot and when he realised, he refused to remove it immediately. It was held that the actus reus of the assault was a continuing act which, while started without mens rea, was still in progress when mens rea was formed and so there was a coincidence of actus reus and mens rea.
In other words Fagan had criminal intention after having accidentally injured the officer but during a time when the car was still parked on the officer’s foot. The two elements of the crime are treated as occurring at the same time.