|Noun||1.||malice aforethought - (law) criminal intent; the thoughts and intentions behind a wrongful act (including knowledge that the act is illegal); often at issue in murder trials|
Synonyms: mens rea
MALICE AFORETHOUGHT, pleadings. In an indictment for murder, these words,
which have a technical force, must be used in charging the offence; for
without them, and the artificial phrase murder, the indictment will be taken
to charge manslaughter only. Fost. 424; Yelv. 205; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, *242,
and the authorities and cases there cited.
2. Whenever malice aforethought is necessary to constitute the offence, these words must be used in charging the crime in the indictment. 2 Chit. Cr. Law, *787; 1 East, Pl. Or. 402. 2 Mason, R. 91.