What is the meaning of Modus Operandi under Law?
The term Modus Operandi is a term used by legal authorities which means “mode of operating” a crime.
It is a term that describes the particular manner in which a crime is committed by the accused.
A Modus operandi evidence is helpful to the prosecution if the prosecution has evidence that proves that the crime for which the defendant is held presently is similar to the crime committed by him previously.
For example- Bobby is on trial for committing a gold Robbery. In the Robbery, Bobby is alleged to have robbed 5 gold bricks from a jeweller’s shop along with demanding the victim to relinquish all the cash and other valuables on gunpoint.
Now assume that Bobby had committed a gold robbery in the past in the same manner, in a jeweller shop demanding cash and other valuables on gunpoint.
Both the times the defendant ( Bobby) has committed the crime in a particular manner that is repeated by him in the future too, which is robbing 5 gold bricks and demanding cash and other valuables on gunpoint.
The term modus operandi is most commonly used in criminal cases.
Modus Operandi refers to a method of operating a crime or a pattern of criminal behaviour so distinctive that the crimes committed by the accused are recognised as the work of the same person.
Example-2- Assume that a defendant is charged of murdering his girlfriend by drowning her at the lavender beach after their sexual intimacy. Now assume that the defendant was previously too been charged of murdering his previous girlfriend by drowning her at the lavender beach after their sexual intimacy.
This murder committed by drowning his victim at a specific place called lavender beach, after the sexual intimacy clearly shows the manner and a pattern in which the defendant commits the crime of murder and has found to be repeating the same manner and the pattern of killing his victim.
When offering evidence to prove Modus operandi the prosecution does not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the other crimes occurred. Rather, the prosecution must simply present sufficient evidence to show that the act took place and was committed by the defendant.