Accessorial liability is one of the most sensitive and critical issues to deal with.
It is also the most complicated area of criminal law, comprising of dealings with three major offences – Attempts, Conspiracies and Complicities.
To establish a Mens Rea for attempt, it will suffice to prove the presence of intention in the accused, and if it is recklessness then it will not suffice. And the Actus Reus will be an equivocality test, perpetration, the last act and the proximity test. The intention of the accused is relevant here for determining whether the acts are sufficiently proximate or not. Another fact is, if an accused is charged for attempting to commit any kind of offense and the equivocal act has gone beyond preparation then impossibility will not be any defense.
Conspiracy is basically one kind of offense where one kind of agreement is done for doing an unlawful act or doing any kind of lawful act in an unlawful manner. Here, the Actus Rea is the agreement and Mens Rea is the intention for committing the offense. Recklessness will not suffice here.
There are some certain facts. Such as - conspiracy offense act must have at least two parties involved in, otherwise it will not suffice. And if it is common law conspiracy then only one party involvement will suffice. It is not necessary that both the party involved in conspiracy will have evidence against them and convicted. If there is evidence against only one party then the jury can separate the trial and sentence accordingly.
Conspiracy can be – to defraud, to commit any tort, to corrupt public morals, to pervert the court of justice willfully, to affect a public mischief and so on. A multiple party conspiracy cannot be proved if there is only evidence of having many small conspiracies. Again a person cannot be charged for conspiracy if the person withdrew himself from the conspiracy act before the conspiracy act takes place and then the person does whatever is needed to prevent the act of conspiracy.
Now, a conspiracy may be admissible against a co-accused. Statements of the accused prove the fact of presence of the accused in the conspiracy as an active party if and only if there is a reasonable evidence of the existence of the conspiracy. The jury should carefully scrutinize the presented evidence under the co-conspirator rule.
There are some basic participation principal regarding complicity, such as – committing the act, being present at the crime commission, taking part in the preliminary stages of crime, taking part in the subsequent stages of crime etc.
It is necessary for the prosecution to prove that a crime has been committed. A proof by certificate will not suffice in this case. And raising a principal as defense will not suffice to prevent the guilty from being convicted. It will not be enough to prove that fact that the accused was aware of some kind of planning for an illegal venture unless there is proof of the fact that the accused knew the type of venture going to be committed too. And if there is any withdrawal, then that must be done timely and must have the solid intention to continue with it.
So these are the main things to be described about attempts, conspiracies and complicities
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.