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Animus nocendi is an essential element for establishing a crime. Animus nocendi refers to the state of mind of an accused person with reference to the knowledge of the illegality of the person’s behavior, and its possible consequences Animus Nocendi is required as an essential condition to give a penal condemnation.
The word animus in Latin means “mind” and nocendi is the gerund form of noceo which means “to harm” or “to hurt.” In order to prove animus nocendi three elements have to be satisfied:
1. Knowledge about the law which prohibits a specific action,
2. knowledge of outcome or consequence of the action; and
3. Intention of breaking or acting against the law.
If a person had no animus nocendi, but a crime was committed, the person will not be accountable and he/she will be considered innocent. For example, animus nocendi is often absent in minors and mentally ill people.