Keele University law lecturer channels inner Eminem in criminal law rap

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By Aishah Hussain on

‘Intention! It gives me tension! Too many cases to mention!’ ?

The country’s coolest law lecturer has channelled her inner Eminem to explain to students through rap the concept of intention in criminal law.

Lisa Mountford, a criminal law teaching fellow at Keele University, uploaded the ‘Intention Rap’ (below) to her Twitter page last night. “This is my contribution to legal ‘edutainment’ whilst in lockdown,” wrote Mountford, who can be seen surrounded by criminal law textbooks in the two-minute clip that has amassed over 5,000 views.

She pulls out flashcards with case names printed on to aid her explanation of the “tricky” criminal law concept with the instrumental backing of Eminem’s Lose Yourself and, intermittently, Love The Way You Lie featuring R&B artist Rihanna.

Intention, or mens rea, in criminal law is concerned with the state of mind of the defendant. It can be divided into direct and oblique intent. The latter is considered to be the more complex area of law which is the focus of Mountford’s rap.

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She begins:

“Have I got mens rea?
If I didn’t mean to slay-a?
Or is it just manslaughter?
‘Cuz that’s the way we taught ya.”

The former criminal and family law solicitor then touches on whether the test for oblique intent should be a subjective or objective one, a matter which has concerned the courts through various cases in the last century.

“Intention! It gives me tension!
Too many cases to mention!
Like Nedrick and Hyam‘s fire,
What outcome did they desire?

She then ‘wraps’ up with the 1999 case of R v Woolin which established the current test of oblique intent. “It’s what you have to foresee as a virtual certainty, that could make you a murderer in the eyes of the jury,” raps Mountford holding up two signs reading ‘Guilty’ and ‘Not guilty’.

Mountford told us she devised the rap a few years ago and has even performed it a few times in lectures “much to the horror/amusement of my students”, adding:

“Lockdown during exam revision time seemed a good time to finally record it. I challenge law students to come up with their own in any area of law!”

Perhaps a rap on recklessness in criminal law could be next?

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