The concept of ‘mens rea’ in criminal law is a way to distinguish between an intentional and an unintentional crime. It is a Latin word which means ‘guilty mind.’ It comes from the phrase ‘Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea’ which implies that an act doesn’t make a person guilty unless his intention was to commit the crime.
In simple words, it determines whether the crime has been committed purposefully or accidentally. To frame charge against a suspect, his willingness to commit the offence must be proved.
Every crime has two components; actus reus, which means the criminal act and mens rea, which means the intent.