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Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Mistake of Fact

Is There Criminal Liability for Ignorance or Mistake of Fact?

The legal maxim, “Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea,” aptly justifies that the act itself does not make man guilty unless his intention were so.

In the absence of malice (criminal intent), negligence, and imprudence, does not impose any criminal liability on the actor.

Ignorance or mistake of fact, if such ignorance or mistake of fact is sufficient to negative a particular intent which under the law is a necessary ingredient of the offense charged “cancels the presumption of intent,” and works an acquittal; except in those cases where the circumstances demand a conviction under the penal provisions touching criminal negligence; and in cases where, under the provisions of Article 1 of the (old) Penal Code one voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor incurs criminal liability for any wrongful act committed by him, even though it be different from that which he intended to commit. There is no criminal liability, provided always that the alleged ignorance or mistake of fact was not due to negligence or bad faith.

US vs. AH CHONG, G.R. No. L-5272, March 19,1910

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