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Cases - inchoate offences - conspiracy

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Anderson, R v (1986) HL

DPP v Nock (1978) HL

Jackson, R v (1982) CA

Knuller v DPP (1973) HL

Moses and Ansbro, R v (1991) CA

Scott v Metropolitan Police Commissioner (1975) HL

Shaw v DPP (1962) HL

Siracusa, R v (1989) CA

Wai Yu-tsang V R (1991) Privy Council

Yip Chiu-Cheung (1994) Privy Council
 

Anderson, R v (1986) HL

 

^[Conspiracy - no need for complete offence - some part need be played by D]

D agreed to supply diamond wire to enable a prisoner to escape. D did not believe the plan would succeed and intended to go abroad after supplying the wire.

 

Held: 

(1) Conspiracy may be committed even without intending the agreement to be carried out.

(2) An intention to play some part in the agreed course of conduct must be established.

Lord Bridge:

'Neither the fact that he intended to play no further part in attempting to effect the escape, nor that he believed the escape to be impossible would ... have afforded him any defence.'

 

Guilty

DPP v Nock (1978) HL

 

^[Conspiracy - impossibility - no liability is incurred for a conspiracy to commit the impossible]

D and others agreed to obtain cocaine from a quantity of powder obtained from co-defendants. D was unaware that the powder contained no cocaine and therefore impossible to produce cocaine.

 

Held: D not guilty of conspiracy to produce cocaine.

Lord Diplock:

'to agree to pursue a course of conduct, which if carried out in accordance with the intention of those agreeing to it, would not amount to or involve the commission of any offence, would not have amounted to criminal conspiracy at common law, nor does it now constitute an offence of conspiracy under s 1 of the [Criminal Law Act 1977].'

 

Not guilty.

Jackson, R v (1982) CA

 

^[Conspiracy - agreement between two or more persons necessary to commit]

D1 and D2 agreed to shoot their friend E in the leg.  Their friend was on trial of E for burglary.  If he was convicted, they hoped it would mitigate E's sentence.

 

Held: All three guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

It does not have to be inevitable that they will carry out the offence.  If they did carry out the agreement in accordance with the plan, there must be the commission of the offence referred to. 

 

Guilty

Knuller v DPP (1973) HL

 

^[There exists a common law conspiracy to corrupt public morals and outrage public decency]

D published a magazine containing advertisements for homosexual acts amongst consenting adults.

 

Held:

  1.  '[C]onspiracy to corrupt public morals ... really means to corrupt the morals of such members of the public as may be influenced by the matter published' by D, with 'corrupt' being synonymous with 'deprave' or amounting to 'conduct which a jury might find to be destructive of the very fabric of).

  2. Regarding the offence of outraging public decency: 'the substantive offence ... must be committed in public', i.e. before more than one person. "'Outraging public decency" goes considerably beyond offending the susceptibilities of, or even shocking, reasonable people'.

Guilty

Moses and Ansbro, R v (1991) CA

^[Conspiracy - to defraud in public duty situation  - to act contrary to his public duty]

D1 and D2 agreed to obtain National Insurance numbers for immigrants not entitled to the numbers. D1 was a former employee and D2 a current employee of the DHSS.

 

Held: D1 and D2 were guilty of conspiracy to defraud.

'Officers of the department who played a part in the processing of these applications which, on the true facts ought not to have been processed, were acting contrary to their public duty. The dictum of Lord Diplock in his speech in Scott v Metropolitan Police Commissioner ... deals with the point: "Where the intended victim of a 'conspiracy to defraud' is a person performing public duties as distinct from a private individual, it is sufficient if the purpose is to cause him to act contrary to his public duty, and the intended means of achieving this purpose, are dishonest. The purpose need not involve causing economic loss to anyone".'

 

Guilty

Scott v Metropolitan Police Commissioner (1975) HL

 

^[Conspiracy to defraud - common law - agreement to dishonestly deprive someone of an entitlement or to injure someone's property right]

D agreed with employees of cinema owners to temporarily remove films from cinema in order to make copies, without the owners' consent, for the purposes of commercial distribution.

 

Held: D was guilty of conspiracy to defraud, at common law.

  1.  'an agreement between two or more by dishonesty to deprive a person of something which is his or to which he is or would or might be entitled and an agreement by two or more to injure some proprietary right of his, suffices to constitute the offence of conspiracy to defraud.'

  2. Deception is not a requisite element of the offence

This common law offence of conspiracy to defraud is not replaced by the Criminal Law Act 1977 s 5(3).

 

Guilty

Shaw v DPP (1962) HL

^[Conspiracy to commit acts not previously criminalised]

D published a 'Ladies Directory' containing the names and addresses of female prostitutes and the services they provided.

 

Held: D was guilty of conspiracy to corrupt public morals.

 

This common law offence of conspiracy corrupting public morals is not replaced by the Criminal Law Act 1977 s 5(3).

 

Guilty

Siracusa, R v (1989) CA

 

^[Conspiracy - no need for complete offence - some part need be played by D]

D and many others agreed to import prohibited drugs over a period of time.

 

Held: D and others and the organisers, who remained in the background, were guilty of conspiracy.

O'Connor LJ:

'Participation in a conspiracy is infinitely variable: it can be active or passive.'

 

Guilty

Wai Yu-tsang V R (1991) Privy Council

 

^[Conspiracy - deception and economic loss are not requisite elements of fraud]

D agreed with employees of a bank to conceal the fact that the bank had purchased dishonoured cheques.  T

He bank had done this to prevent a run on the bank.

 

Held: Conspiracy to defraud, is

'…not limited to the idea of economic loss, nor the idea of depriving someone of something of value. It extends generally to the purpose of the fraud and deceit ... If anyone may be prejudiced in any way by the fraud, that is enough'.

 

Guilty

Yip Chiu-Cheung (1994) Privy Council

^[Conspiracy - no need for complete offence - some part need be played by D]

D met with a US undercover policeman, and arranged for him to transport heroin from Hong Kong to Australia.

 

Held:

Lord Griffiths:

'The crime of conspiracy requires an agreement between two or more persons to commit an unlawful act with the intention of carrying it out. It is the intention to carry out the crime that constitutes the necessary mens rea for the offence.  As Lord Bridge pointed out [Anderson] An undercover agent who has no intention of committing the crime lacks the necessary mens rea to be a conspirator.'

 

The policeman intended to traffic in drugs by exporting the heroin (albeit for the purpose of combating drug trafficking and with full knowledge of immunity from prosecution).

 

Guilty

 

 

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