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malice aforethought

The *mens rea (state of mind) required for a person to be guilty of murder. It is unnecessary for there to be any element of hostility (see *malice) or for the intention to kill to be 'forethought' (i.e. premeditated). The term covers (1) intention to kill (direct express malice aforethought), (2) intention to cause *grievous bodily harm (direct implied malice aforethought), (3) realizing while doing a particular act that death would almost certainly or very probably result (indirect express malice), and (4) realizing that grievous bodily harm would very probably result from the act, e.g. shooting at someone without intending to kill him, but realizing that he may at least suffer a serious injury (indirect implied malice). The prosecution must prove one of these four types of malice aforethought to secure a conviction of murder.

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