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Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law (10th edn)

Jeremy Horder
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date: 27 September 2023

p. 51313. Inchoate Offenceslocked

p. 51313. Inchoate Offenceslocked

  • Jeremy HorderJeremy HorderProfessor of Criminal Law, London School of Economics and Political Science


This chapter begins by explaining the concept of an inchoate or ‘incomplete’ offence. Such an offence may occur when D does all that he or she can do to commit the crime (such as shooting at the victim), but simply fails to bring about the outcome. Alternatively, such an offence may occur when D is still at the stage of preparation for committing the offence, but has come so close to committing it that it would be right to call the acts in question an ‘attempt’ in themselves. The chapter then discusses the justifications for penalizing attempts at crimes, the elements of criminal attempt, the justifications for an offence of conspiracy, the elements of criminal conspiracy, encouraging or assisting crime, voluntary renunciation of criminal purpose, the relationship between substantive and inchoate crimes, and the place of inchoate liability.

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