Lesser Included Offences, Alternative Offences and Accessorial Liability
19 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2016
Date Written: April 6, 2016
In this essay, I shall examine when an alternative offence and also a lesser-included offence is available for an accessory. Particular reference will be made to the offences of manslaughter and murder. It shall be argued, that the decision in R. v Jogee and Ruddock v The Queen is wrong as far as it holds that an accessory can be liable for manslaughter when the principal has been convicted of murder, because it is necessary to prove that the accessory intended the principal to perpetrate the actus reus of the relevant offence with the requisite mens rea for that offence. In such a scenario the accessory does not intentionally assist or encourage the more serious offence (murder), so she cannot be derivatively liable for it, and the principal does not perpetrate the less serious offence (manslaughter), so there is no offence of manslaughter for the accessory’s liability to derive from. The accessory only attempts to assist or encourage the principal to engage in conduct that has the potential to form the conduct element of constructive manslaughter. Such a conviction would rest on a presumption of participation in a result crime, when no result was in fact caused by the non-perpetrated crime (manslaughter), but instead the result was caused by an alternative more serious crime (murder), which was in fact perpetrated. If the principal had done the actus reus that the accessory intended (i.e. unlawfully inflict a.b.h.), the victim most likely would not have been killed and it is pure speculation to suggest the victim could have been killed by a.b.h. as opposed to the act of grievous bodily harm (g.b.h.) or act of intentional killing, which in fact killed the victim. It shall be argued that in such cases it is best to prosecute the putative assister or encourager under sections 44 or 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2007, for attempting to assist or encourage a potential aggravated assault.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation