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Law Commission Consultation on Conspiracy and Criminal Attempts
The Law Commission has launched a consultation on reforming laws relating to conspiracy and criminal attempts:

The consultation paper includes the following main provisional proposals:

  • A person who agrees to commit an offence ('a principal offence) should in general be guilty of conspiracy if he was reckless as to the possible existence of a circumstance element of the principal offence.  For example, a person who agrees to 'launder' money commits conspiracy if he suspects that the money might be the proceeds of criminal conduct even if he does not know or intend that it is.
  • It should be a defence if a person agreeing to commit an offence 'acted reasonably' in so agreeing.  The defence could be pleaded by, for example, an undercover police officer whose purpose in agreeing with members of a gang to commit an offence is to bring the members of the gang to justice.
  • The spousal immunity by virtue of which spouses (and civil partners) who agree with each other to commit an offence cannot be guilty of conspiracy should be abolished.
  • The immunity by virtue of which a person cannot be convicted of conspiracy if the person with whom he agrees to commit the offence would be a victim of the offence were it committed, should be abolished.  For example, D, a man aged 40, agrees with V, a girl aged 14 to have sexual intercourse with her.
  • Instead of one offence of attempt, there should be two offences.  These would be attempt, limited to cases where the last acts needed to commit the complete offence have been committed, and criminal preparation, limited to acts of preparation which are properly to be regarded as part of the execution of the plan to commit the intended offence.
  • The two offences should cover omissions where, as a matter of law, the intended offence is capable of being committed by an omission.  For example, a parent omits to feed his or her child intending to starve the child to death.

This consultation closes on 31st January 2008.

To see further information on this news item follow this link.




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