Intent is very important. For example, if there is an auto accident with a tragic outcome, the driver may get the sympathy of the community if they judge the intent wasn't there... on the other hand, if malace aforethought is judged to be the intent, the driver may be executed by the state.
The intent of an action has very little to do with the reactions of others... it is important to divorce your feelings from the situation and to be objective if you are attempting to judge the intent of others. A 2 year old girl has little intent beyond the next few minutes amusement or contentment, for example. It's very hard sometimes to keep this in mind, but a good parent will do so, even if it's after the fact.