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

  • Entrapment
  • Propriety of the investigation giving rise to allegations of entrapment
  • The application of R v Looseley
  • Entrapment by a private individual


There is no defence of entrapment in English law but it is considered to be an abuse of the process of the court for state agents to lure a person into committing illegal acts and then seek to prosecute him for doing so.

The House of Lords said that, although entrapment is not a substantive defence in English law, where an accused can show entrapment, the court may stay the proceedings as an abuse of its process or exclude evidence.

Where the actions of the state threaten the rule of law, it would be unfair to try the defendant. As a matter of policy, when a defendant has been treated so unfairly, the integrity of the criminal justice system depends on him not being tried at all. State-created crime is unacceptable and improper, and to prosecute in such circumstances would be an affront to the public conscience. The court has found that in these circumstances the ends do not always justify the means.

This is distinct from the situation in which an accused is given the opportunity to commit the crime that was his existing intent.

It is recognised that undercover operations are a valuable resource in the fight against crime. Potter LJ in Shannon did not disapprove of the trial judge’s earlier observations that 'obtaining evidence of drug dealing of this kind other

Popular documents