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8.2 General Inchoate Offences Lecture

1.0 Introduction

2.0 Assisting or Encouraging an Offence

The Serious Crime Act 2007 (SCA 2007) sets out three offences relating to assisting or encouraging an offence outlined below.

2.1 Intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence

Section 44 SCA 2007.

2.1.1 Actus Reus

  • Defendant commits an act, and;
  • The act is capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence

2.1.2 Mens Rea

  • Intention to encourage or assist in the commission of the offence

2.2 Encouraging or assisting an offence believing it will be committed

Section 45 SCA 2007.

2.2.1 Actus Reus

  • Defendant commits an act, and;
  • Act is capable or encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence

2.2.2 Mens Rea

  • Belief that the offence will be committed, and;
  • Belief that his act will encourage or assist the commission of the offence

2.3 Encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed

Section 46 SCA 2007.

2.3.1 Actus Reus

  • Defendant does an act, and;
  • The act is capable of encouraging or assisting in commission or one or more offences.

2.3.2 Mens Rea

  • Belief that one or more offences will be committed, and;
  • Belief that his act will encourage or assist their commission.

2.5 Charging and Sentencing

The offences are all triable either way; the defendant is liable to the same maximum sentence as for the full offence.

3.0 Conspiracy

3.1 Statutory Conspiracy

Section 1 Criminal Law Act 1977 (CLA 1977).

3.1.1 Actus Reus

  • An agreement
  • As to a course of conduct

3.1.2 Mens Rea

  • Intention to be party to the agreement, and;
  • Intention that the offence will be carried out by one or more of the conspirators.

3.1.3 Charging and Sentencing

The offence of conspiracy is triable either way. The sentence for conspiracy will not exceed the sentence for the crime that was being conspired to.

3.2 Common Law Conspiracy

3.1.3 Actus Reus for Common Law Conspiracy

The actus reus is satisfied by:

  • Conspiring to corrupt public morals or decency or;
  • Conspiring to defraud

3.1.4 Mens Rea for Common Law Conspiracy

The mens rea is the same as for statutory conspiracy with the added element of dishonesty.

3.1.5 Charging and Sentencing Common Law Conspiracy

There is not a set sentence in place for conspiracy to corrupt public morals and decency.

Conspiracy to defraud carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.

4.0 Attempt

Section 1 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 (CAA 1981).

It is not possible under the Act to be guilty of the attempt to commit:

-  A summary offence

- Conspiracy

  • Aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring or suborning the commission of an offence
  • Assisting or accepting or agreeing to accept consideration for not disclosing evidence in relation to an arrestable offence.

4.1 Actus Reus

  • An act which is more than merely preparatory in the commission of an indictable offence.

4.2 Mens Rea

  • Intention to commit the offence

4.3 Charging and Sentencing

Attempt is a triable either way offence and carries the same maximum sentence for the full offence attempted.


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