Question: Explain the legal word Corpus delicti. Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Explain the legal word Corpus delicti.] Answer Corpus delicti Corpus Delicti is a legal term of Latin origin. Corpus means ‘body’ and delicti means ‘crime’ hence, the term corpus delicti means ‘body of crime/ essence of crime’. Corpus delicti is a term in Western… Read More »

Question: Explain the legal word Corpus delicti. Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Explain the legal word Corpus delicti.] Answer Corpus delicti Corpus Delicti is a legal term of Latin origin. Corpus means ‘body’ and delicti means ‘crime’ hence, the term corpus delicti means ‘body of crime/ essence of crime’. Corpus delicti is a term in Western law, referring to the principle that a crime must be proven to have occurred in order for a person to be convicted of the crime. It...

Question: Explain the legal word Corpus delicti.

Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Explain the legal word Corpus delicti.]

Answer

Corpus delicti

Corpus Delicti is a legal term of Latin origin. Corpus means ‘body’ and delicti means ‘crime’ hence, the term corpus delicti means ‘body of crime/ essence of crime’. Corpus delicti is a term in Western law, referring to the principle that a crime must be proven to have occurred in order for a person to be convicted of the crime. It has been defined by the Black’s Law Dictionary as,

“the facts of the crime have actually been committed”.

The maxim is used to denote the physical object that is the subject of the crime, for example, a corpse or the remains of the burned-out house or the act itself, that is, murder or arson. It is also used as evidence that a crime has been committed. In order to prove that a crime has been committed, two things need to be proved:

  • The essence of the crime, for example, if it is a case of murder, is the dead body of the person.
  • Proof that the criminal act has been committed by a criminal act.

Example: Manan strongly believes that Naman, his neighbour stole his iron. Manan files a police report for the same but he lacks solid proof to prove that Naman too it. Additionally, Naman and other neighbours claim that Manan has memory lapse, and hence, his claim cannot be considered without any proof. In this case, corpus delicti has not been proven because there is no evidence the crime of theft has actually been committed.

In the case of State v. Nicely [39 Ohio St. 3d 147 (Ohio 1988)], the body of the victim, also the wife of the accused, has not been found, but there is no lack of circumstantial evidence about it, from the victim’s bloodstains to the discovery of his car abandoned on the bridge and the contradictory statements of the accused. The defendant was convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence of the serious murder of his wife and the court held that there was the presence of corpus delicti.


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Updated On 2022-04-16T08:33:47+05:30
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