Law & Justice

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  • (1981) Gillies, Peter
    This study deals with the law of criminal complicity in both its common law dimensions and as modified by legislation in England, in the Australian jurisdictions (i.e ., the Australian States and in the Commonwealth Crimes Act,19H), and in New Zealand. In the criminal law “complicity" denotes partnership in crime. As such, what might be called the doctrine of criminal complicity consists in that corpus of principle which governs the joint implication of each of two or more persons in a given crime. A person my become particeps criminis in one of two ways,i.e., by physically perpetrating this crime or by instigating, encouraging the perpetrator to do this. The first offender is usually called a principal in the crime , and the latter of them an accessory, or secondary party in its commission. For the reasons noted at the outset of Chapter One, the major stress in this study is upon the statement and evaluation of the law relating to criminal participation as an accessory. Nonetheless, it will of course be frequently necessary to consider the position of the principal in some detail in analysing the law of complicity. This analysis was motivated ay two ambitions, both of them traditional. The first of them was to state the law as it presently stands. This was felt to be justified, in particular, given that prior to this one (which was published in an earlier, and somewhat different form by the Law Book Co. Ltd. of Sydney, in July of last year), no monograph-length study had been undertaken of this topic in any of the common law jurisdictions. The seoond objective, one obviously dependent upon the fulfilment of the first, was to evaluate the effectiveness of this branch of the law and to determine whether or not it is in need of legislative reform in each of the subject jurisdictions, and if so, then in what terms. I have concluded, (1) that the law should continue to recognise a specifically derivative form of accessorial liability (derivative, in the sense that the person who instigates, encourages or assists the principal offender to commit a crime is made liable for this crime,rather than for an independent offence of an ancillary character); and (2) that the law of complicity - and in particular, that part of it dealing with accessorial liability - is susceptible to reform at a number of levels, in each of the subject jurisdictions. I have sought to take account of the law as it stood in the subject jurisdictions in the last months of 1980.