THE ‘REASONABLE MAN’ IN THE LAW OF CRIME AS A ‘FADING’ LEGAL CONCEPT? AN OVERVIEW OF THE ROME STATUTE, THE NEW YORK PENAL CODE AND THE CODES OF STATES OF NIGERIA

Musa Y. SULEIMAN

Abstract


The common law concept of the ‘reasonable man’ was a legal device meant to ascertain the honesty of belief in pleas of mistake among other defences in criminal law1. There are juristic opinions against the application of the concept2. Using courts’ decisions, statutory law, and juristic arguments in articles among others, this work finds out that though the tongues of statutes differ in their requirements for the defence of mistake among others, they find unity in courts’ decisions that are still rooted in the reasonable man concept. It is recommended that ‘reasonable man’, ‘reasonable grounds’ and ‘reasonable belief’ should be used as mere English words to avoid the rigors associated with the application of the common law concept.

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