Encouraging and assisting criminality
Encouraging and assisting criminality

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

  • Encouraging and assisting criminality
  • Encouraging criminality
  • Encouraging an offence and believing it will be committed
  • Encouraging or assisting offences, believing one or more will be committed
  • Defences

Encouraging criminality

The common law offence of incitement was abolished as of 1 October 2008, the date on which the Serious Crime Act 2007 (SCA 2007) was brought into force. Incitement was replaced by encouraging or assisting offences under SCA 2007, ss 44–46 which are types of inchoate offences meaning that they relate to illegal acts which have yet to be committed. Proceedings may still be instituted for the common law offence of incitement in respect of any offences of incitement committed wholly or partly before 1 October 2008.

SCA 2007 provides for three ways to be involved in encouraging criminality:

  1. intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence

  2. encouraging or assisting an offence with the belief that it will be committed, and

  3. encouraging or assisting offences, believing one or more will be committed

An offence is committed when:

  1. a person acts in a way that is capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, and

  2. the encouragement or assistance is intended for the commission of the offence

It is a complete offence when assistance is given; the potential offender does not have to commit the offence that is encouraged. The offence can therefore be complete regardless of whether the encouragement or assistance has the effect the defendant believed it would.

The act the defendant commits must have the potential to encourage