8.1 General Inchoate Offences - Introduction

Welcome to the eighth topic in this module guide - General Inchoate Offences! General Inchoate Offences refers to offences which are, in some sense, incomplete. Principal offences are designed to target ‘wrongs’ based on the defendant’s mens rea and, crucially, his manifestation of some harmful conduct. Inchoate offences, in contrast, will generally not require a significant physical harm to have come about in the form of harm to a person or property, but will target defendants who have made some progress towards a harmful end, intending that harm to come about.

The significant thing to note is that inchoate offences only operate in combination with a principal offence. Therefore, the defendant’s conduct may be inchoate, but it is also deserving of criminalisation.

Goals for this section:

  • To understand the actus reus and mens rea components of assisting or encouraging an offence, encouraging or assisting an offence believing it will be committed, encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed, statutory conspiracy, common law conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud and attempt.
  • To appreciate the charging and sentencing guidelines for each of the offences mentioned above.

Objectives for this section:

  • To be able to identify when the above general inchoate offences will arise, and apply the provisions and surrounding case law in a practical setting.
  • To be able to appreciate the delineation between statutory conspiracy as provided under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and common law conspiracy.
  • To be able to analyse the general defences available for the encouraging and assisting offences.

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