Flashcards in Accessory After the Fact Deck (20)
Accessory After the Fact Act and Section
Crimes Act 1961, Section 71
Elements - accessory after the fact
-Knowing any person to have been a party to the offence
-Receives, Comforts, or Assist that person
-Tampers with or Actively suppresses any evidence against him
-In order to help him to escape after arrest or to avoid arrest or conviction
Accessory after the fact - spouse
You cannot be charged with being an accessory after the fact to your spouse (legally married) or your spouse & another person; same limitation applies to those in civil union.
Does not apply to de facto partners
What is the punishment for accessory after the fact?
Unless stated in any other act, everyone who is an accessory after the fact is liable to imprisonment for a term...
7 years = life
5 years = 10 years
other cases = half
What needs to be proved for accessory after the fact?
-that the defendant is a party to an offence that has been committed.
-That, at the time of receiving, comforting or assisting that defendant , the accessory knows that the defendant was a party to the offence
-That the accessory received, comforted or assisted the defendant or tampered with or actively suppressed any evidence against the defendant
-That, at the time of the receiving, comforting, or assisting etc. the accessory's purpose was to enable the defendant to escape after arrest or to avoid arrest or conviction.
Case law - R v Crooks
Knowledge means actual knowledge or belief in the sense of having no real doubt that the person assisted was a party to the relevant offence. Mere suspicion of their involvement in the offence in insufficient.
At the time of the assistance being given,an accessory must possess the knowledge that:
-an offence has been committed
-the person they are assisting was a party to that offence
Where the knowledge comes after the assistance they are not liable as an accessory.
Case law - R v Briggs
As with a receiving charge under s246(1), knowledge may also be inferred from wilful blindness or a deliberate abstention from making inquiries that would confirm the suspected truth.
A person is considered wilfully blind in only two situations, these being:
-where the person deliberately shuts their eyes and fails to inquire; this is because they know what the answer would be or
-in situations where the means of knowledge are easily at hand and the person realises the likely truth of the matter but refrains from inquiring in order not to know.
What are intentional acts an accessory must do to be liable?
-tampers with evidence
-actively suppresses evidence
Case law - R v Mane
To be considered an accessory the acts done by the person must be after the completion of the offence.
Examples of receiving and comforting
Harbouring an offender or offering them shelter can be considered receiving or comforting.
Comforting encompasses situations where an accessory provides food and clothing.
Examples of assisting
Providing transport, acting as a look out, identifying receivers for stolen property, providing Police with false information
Define tampers with evidence
Tampers means to alter the evidence against the offender. Eg. modifying an offenders telephone records
Define actively suppresses evidence
Actively suppressing evidence encompasses acts of concealing or destroying evidence against an offender. Eg. bloodied clothing washed repeatedly, or sets it alight.
Can you be convicted of attempting to be an accessory after the fact?
What are the three intents that the accessory could posses?
enable the offender to:
-escape after arrest
Is the defendant to accessory after the fact entitled to proof that the alleged offence was committed?
Can a person still be convicted as an accessory despite the fact that the offender has been acquitted of the offence?
Yes, unless the accessory's conviction is inconsistent with the acquittal of the original offender.
Eg an offender confesses to committing an offence but that confession is deemed inadmissible and results in his acquittal, the confession being ruled is admissible in the accessory case so a conviction can result.