R v Latimer – Case Summary

R v Latimer

Crown Court

Citations: (1886) 17 QBD 359.


The defendant attempted to strike a man, but missed and hit a woman instead. The woman was wounded by the blow. The defendant was convicted of unlawful wounding. He appealed the conviction, arguing that he lacked the mens rea since he did not intend to strike the woman.

  1. Did the defendant have the mens rea for unlawful wounding?

The court upheld the conviction. The defendant had the mens rea for the offence as he intended to strike a person, even if he did not intend to strike that specific person.

This Case is Authority For…

This case is authority for the doctrine of transferred malice. If a person has the mens rea of an offence with respect to one person, it can be ‘transferred’ to the person they accidentally commit the actus reus against.