Appendix A Glossary of Legal Terms

Actus reus  The physical act, which usually in conjunction with the required mental element, constitutes a crime.

Antecedents  A person’s past history. Usually used in the context of a defendant who has pleaded or been found guilty in a criminal court. His antecedents, in other words history, personal circumstances and any previous convictions are read to the court prior to sentence being passed.

Arraignment  In criminal procedure, the formal process of putting the charge to the accused in court and calling for his plea.

Arrest  Detaining someone or depriving him of his liberty. An arrest can be achieved by words alone – for example, ‘you are under arrest’.

Bail  The sum put up by the accused or another person ...

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