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Card, Cross & Jones Criminal Law

Card, Cross & Jones Criminal Law (22nd edn)

Richard Card and Jill Molloy
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date: 27 September 2023

p. 74017. Participationlocked

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  • Richard CardRichard CardEmeritus Professor of Law, De Montfort University, Leicester
  •  and Jill MolloyJill MolloySenior Lecturer in Law, Birmingham City University


The commission of an offence may involve not only the perpetrator of the offence but also other people in criminal liability in various ways. A person who directly brings about the actus reus of an offence with the relevant mens rea is known as the perpetrator (or principal). While an accomplice (also known as an accessory or secondary party) participates in the commission of an offence, he does not in law directly bring about its actus reus, even if his assistance or encouragement causes the perpetrator to act as he does. This chapter explains the liability of an accomplice before and after the commission of an offence. It considers joint perpetrators, innocent agency, principal offence, intentional perpetration of an offence which is not the common purpose of a joint criminal venture (a principle which has recently changed with the Supreme Court decision in Jogee), differential liability, victims as accomplices, entrapment and agents provocateurs, withdrawal from participation, and reform of the law of complicity.

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