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Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Criminal Law

Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Criminal Law (15th edn)

David Ormerod and Karl Laird
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date: 31 March 2023

p. 2357. Assistance after the offencelocked

p. 2357. Assistance after the offencelocked

  • David OrmerodDavid OrmerodLaw Commissioner for England and Wales, Professor of Criminal Justice, University College London, Barrister, Bencher of Middle Temple, Door Tenant at 18 Red Lion Chambers
  •  and Karl LairdKarl LairdFixed-term Fellow and Tutor in Law, St Hilda’s College, Oxford


This chapter examines the statutory offences under the Criminal Law Act 1967 of assisting an offender. Examples include hiding a principal offender, helping a principal offender to avoid arrest or to abscond from bail, lying to the police to protect the principal offender from investigation and prosecution, hiding the weapon used by the principal offender in committing the assault/robbery, and washing clothes worn by the principal offender to obstruct any potential forensic examination. In addition to the fact that the offender must have committed a relevant offence, another element in the actus reus where one is charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of the offender is that the accused must have done ‘any act’ with the appropriate intent. An attempt to commit this offence does not amount to criminal liability.

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