Common law offence of kidnapping

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

  • Common law offence of kidnapping
  • The offence of kidnapping
  • Elements of the offence
  • Does the offence of kidnapping require a mental element?
  • Taking or carrying away
  • By force or fraud
  • Without consent
  • Without lawful excuse
  • Continuing offence
  • Kidnapping of a spouse
  • More...

Common law offence of kidnapping

The offence of kidnapping

Kidnapping is a common law offence and is triable only on indictment. It may be classified in class 2A, 2B or 3—see Criminal Practice Directions XIII Listing, para B: Classification.

The offence is closely related to the offences of false imprisonment and child abduction. For more information, see Practice Notes: Common law offence of false imprisonment and Child abduction offences.

Kidnapping is such a serious offence that it is tried on indictment in the Crown Court, and where it arises in conjunction with other offences, it will be charged as a separate count on the indictment.

Despite the acknowledged overlap between the offences of kidnapping and statutory abduction, an indictment should not contain counts for both offences (C (1990) The Times, 9 November 1990 (not reported by LexisNexis®)).

Section 5 of the Child Abduction Act 1984 (CAA 1984) provides that, except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions, no prosecution shall be instituted for an offence of kidnapping if it was committed against a child under the age of 16 by a person 'connected with' the child within the meaning of CAA 1984, s 1.

Elements of the offence

In R v D the Court of Appeal held that on a charge of kidnapping the prosecution must prove:

  1. the taking or carrying away of one person by

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