Consultation on Conspiracy and Criminal Attempts
The Law Commission
has launched a consultation on reforming laws relating to conspiracy and
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.
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
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
- 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
consultation closes on 31st January 2008.
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