Participation in Crime

Accomplice Liability


  •     This arises where P goes on to commit the principal offence.
  •     X, Y, Z can be tried and convicted as P, for the same offence.



Derivative liability


  •     Also known as joint enterprise liability


  •     “Whosoever shall aid, abet, counsel, or procure the commission of any indictableoffence, whether the same be an offence at common law or by virtue of any Act passed or to be passed, shall be liable to be tried, indicted, and punished as a principal” (s.8 Accessories and Abettors Act 1861.



Actus Reus of Complicity


  •      Voluntary presence is capable of satisfying the actus reus of aiding and abetting.


  •      The defendant’s presence at illegal prize fights is capable of ‘encouraging’ as such fights would not happen without an audience.


  •      There must be some connecting link between D’s conduct and the principal offence. However, there is no requirement for ‘but for’ causation.


  •     Simply nodding when told of a plan could amount to encouragement.


Mens Rea of Complicity


Mens Rea as to D’s own conduct

  • D’s own conduct must be intentional (direct or oblique intent)
  • D must intend that her conduct will assist or encourage P (direct or oblique intent)


Relevant case law:


R v Gnango [2011] UKSC


R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8


R v Cogan & Leak [1976] QB 217


Johnson v Youden [1950] 1 KB 544


ABCD [2010] EWCA Crim 1622