The formulation of the English common law begun with the introduction of the Mens Rea principle after the fourth Lateran conference in 1215, in the time of reforms dubbed Gregorian (Barry et al. 2008, P. 21). This phrase was used to mean “having a guilty mind” or having an intention to commit crime. Between the year 1220 and 1240, Brackton a man who was serving as a clerk for a renowned judge called Releigh prescribed a criminal law that has influenced the European criminal justice system for over 550 years (24). The Roman theory of Culpa which implied “a fault” and the then constant emphasis by the Catholic Church on moral guilt really influenced this decision. These proposals were not new to the people then but were facilitated by the reforms that were being executed by the Catholic Church all over the region in terms of theological structures.
The principals dominated all forms of jurisdictions involving criminal law in the development period of the English common law. This extended to the period of American colonization period. Two components of the criminal law and violations became dominant. These were the”actus rea” which means guilty act and “mens rea” which was used to mean guilty mind (49). Later on, John Locke came up with further proposals in his treatise describing law that introduced most of today’s laws that deal with criminal justice in Europe (Barry et al. 2008, P. 36).
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