Show Summary Details

Quick Reference


The purpose behind a course of action. Motive is not normally relevant in deciding guilt or innocence (for example, killing to save someone from suffering is still murder or manslaughter), although it may be of some relevance in the crime of libel. Nor is a bad motive relevant in deciding legal guilt. However, a good motive may be invoked as a reason for mitigating a punishment upon conviction, and a bad motive may provide circumstantial evidence that the defendant committed the crime he is charged with.

Subjects: Law — Philosophy.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.