The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Attempt
  • Act must be more than merely preparatory
  • With intent to commit an offence
  • Recklessness
  • Restrictions
  • Attempting the impossible
  • Jurisdiction
  • Sentencing

A person is guilty of attempting to commit an offence if he does an act that is more than preparatory to the commission of the offence, with the intention of committing an offence. An attempt is an offence of specific intent. It requires an intention to commit an offence. The offence itself consists of both a criminal act and a mental state. In each case it is a question of fact whether the accused has gone sufficiently far towards the full offence to have committed the act of the attempt. If the accused has passed the preparatory stage the offence of attempt has been committed and it is no defence that he then withdrew from committing the completed offence.

Most attempts at committing criminal offences will be governed by section 1 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 (CAA 1981), although some statutory exceptions apply. These include:

  1. burglary, and

  2. using a firearm to resist arrest

CAA 1981, s 3 deals with such statutory provisions and they will generally be governed by the same principles as under s 1.

Act must be more than merely preparatory

A defendant's actions must be shown to have gone beyond mere preparation towards the commission of the substantive offence. An omission cannot suffice even where there is the requisite mental element. For example, a refusal to call an ambulance for a person

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