What the legal terms in Latin mean

2014-09-12 00:00

THE legal terms in Latin used by Judge Thokozile Masipa in her verdict:

Mens rea — refers to someone’s guilty conscience and intent to commit a crime. Under mens rea the terms dolus (intent) and culpa (negligence) are included.

Culpa (negligence) — The accused’s actions are not the same as the actions of a reasonable person in the same circumstances.

Dolus directus — the form of intent referring to a direct intent (to murder).

Dolus eventualis — the form of intent referring to a person being aware what results would follow from an action but not stopping the action. For example, person A wants to shoot person B who is standing behind person C, and A realises shooting B would also injure or kill C, but pulls the trigger regardless.

Aberratio ictus — means to deflect the blow, for example, when person A shoots at B, but the round hits a wall and ricochets to hit person C.

Pater familias — the reasonable person or the average person in society.

Error in personam — to mistake someone’s identity.

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