This Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 was introduced to clarify the legal position of those who assist, encourage, or facilitate the commission of a crime. It is therefore a piece of legislation that has had a significant impact on criminal law in England and Wales.
Could a Senior Financial Remedy Judge such as HHJ Farquhar, whilst sitting in Private, have committed a criminal offence under Section 3 of Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 by “encouraging and turning a blind eye” to an allegation of fraud ?
The Rule of Law is clear that “no one is above the law”.
Prior to the introduction of this Act, the law surrounding accomplices was unclear and inconsistent.
The Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 aimed to address this by providing a clear and consistent framework for dealing with those who aid or encourage the commission of a crime.
The Act consists of three sections, each dealing with a different aspect of criminal liability.
Section 1 deals with those who aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission of an offence. This section makes it an offence to aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission of an offence, even if the person who aids or encourages the offence does not actually commit the offence themselves.
Section 2 of the Act deals with those who are present at the scene of a crime and who help the person who has committed the offence to escape punishment. This section makes it an offence to assist a person who has committed an offence to avoid arrest, trial or punishment.
Section 3 of the Act deals with those who receive, relieve, comfort or assist a person who has committed an offence, knowing that person to be guilty of that offence. This section makes it an offence to help someone who has committed a crime to evade justice.
The Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 has been used in a wide range of criminal cases, from minor offences such as shoplifting to more serious crimes such as murder. It has proved to be a useful tool for prosecutors, allowing them to hold not only the principal offender but also those who aided or encouraged the offence to account.
In recent years, the Act has been used in cases involving cybercrime and terrorism. For example, in 2015, a man was charged under Section 1 of the Act for providing material support to ISIS. In this case, the man was not directly involved in any terrorist activities himself, but he was found to have provided financial and logistical support to those who were.
While the Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 has been a useful tool for prosecutors, it is not without its critics. Some have argued that the Act is too broad and can be used to prosecute individuals who had only a minor role in a crime.
Others have argued that the Act is outdated and in need of reform to take into account modern technology and the changing nature of criminal activity.
In conclusion, the Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 has been an important piece of legislation in the development of criminal law in England and Wales.
Its clear and consistent framework for dealing with accomplices has helped to ensure that those who aid or encourage the commission of a crime can be held accountable for their actions. However, as with any piece of legislation, there is always room for debate and discussion about its effectiveness and potential for reform.
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