I begin by citing Lawrence Becker's quote which refers to the notion of attempt as a part of corpus delicti' and its equality with a successful crime:.
- the attempt to accomplish harm, whether the attempt succeed or fail, which is properly the concern of the society and hence the business of criminal law. Attempts produce as much justifiable social volatility as do successful crimes."" .
I am inclined to agree with this point of view, but before making any conclusions, I would like to speak about actus reus, mens rea' and blame' in general. I'd also like to refer to guilty minds, wrongful acts and their correlative real cases.
The first question that I would like to address is - "What do we punish people for? Is it harm caused to the victim or harm caused to the society?- I refer now to the R. vs Machekequonabe case where the defendant killed a person believing he was a Wendigo' (a bad spirit in human flesh which would eat a human being). The murderer did not intend to kill the victim (who was in fact his father), nor did he want to cause any harm to him (an absence of mens rea). This is not a straight-forward or simple case to determine as it is based on the agent's thoughts. A man considered as normal' would not think in such a manner and to my mind such kinds of beliefs bring a real harm to society. I think we have to eradicate the beliefs that may cause harm not just to a victim, but to the whole of society. In this case I would not punish the defendant because the blame comes from the thought, which is my main idea.
Another case described by Richard Parker in "Blame, Punishment, and the Role of Result- , where A takes a rifle to a location which overlooks a stadium where A knows an event is underway and then A recklessly fires the weapon in the direction of the grandstands. Fortunately, the bullet's strikes the bleachers after narrowly missing members of the crowd .