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Division of Blame • In a crime, the act is normally not carried out by just one person. How does the law divide blame amount the various offenders?
The Perpetrator • The person who actually commits the criminal offence. • If more than one person is involved in committing a crime, they are called co-perpetrators. • The person must be present at the scene of a crime to be identified as either a perpetrator or a co-perpetrator.
Aiding & Abetting • May not be directly involved but may be considered partly responsible. These individuals are parties to an offence. • In criminal law, aiding means helping a perpetrator commit a crime. One does not have to be present when the offence is committed. • Parties to an offence and aiding are individuals who help the perpetrator. • Abetting means encouraging the perpetrator of a crime without actually providing physical assistance. ** Note: A person is not guilty if they have knowledge of a crime or were present at the scene. They must be aware that a criminal action was intended and must have committed some action that assisted the perpetrator.
Counselling & Accessory after the Fact • Counselling involves advising, recommending, or persuading another person to commit a crime. • Do not have to be present at the scene of the crime to be guilty. • A person is considered to be an accessory after the fact if they knew that someone was involved in an offence and received, comforted, or assisted that person in escaping from the police. • These individuals are people who did not participate in or help plan a crime.
Party to Common Intention • The shared responsibility among criminals for any additional offences that are committed in the course of the crime they originally intended to commit. • For instance – if six people hijack a security truck and one of them shoots and kills the driver, all six can be charge with murder.
Incomplete Crimes • When we talked about actus reus and mens rea, we noted that the criminal act needs to be completed for a crime to exist. These are exceptions to this rule: criminal attempt and conspiracy: • Attempt – the intention to commit a crime but, for some reason, failed to carry it through. An attempt does not require actus reus but the guilty act begins the moment preparation turns into action. The crown just needs to prove that they took some steps towards committing the crime. • Conspiracy – An agreement between two or more people to perform an illegal act. It does not matter whether the act is actually carried out.