More than merely preparatory

More than merely preparatory means that the defendant must have gone further than just the preparatory act.

As the phrase suggests this means that the defendant must have gone further than just the preparatory acts and must have 'embarked on the crime proper'

Cases which are mere preparation:

Gullefer (1987). In this case the defendant jumped onto a greyhound racing track hoping to have the race declared void thus enabling him to claim back his money he had bet on the race. This was held to be mere preparation. It remained for him to go to the bookmaker and demand his money and he was not guilty of attempted theft.

Campbell (1990). In this instance the defendant had a fake gun, was wearing sunglasses and a crash helmet and had a threatening note in his pocket.  He was outside of a post office and was arrested when he was one yard away from entering the post office. As he had not even entered the post office where he would have been in a position to carry out the offence, it was extremely unlikely that it could ever be said that he had performed an act which could have been classed as an attempt. He was found not guilty of attempted robbery.

Cases in which there was an attempt:

Boyle and Boyle (1987). The defendants damaged the door of a house with a view to gain access to the property as trespassers and with the intent of stealing from the property.  The lock and one hinge of the door were broken and by breaking down the door did more than a merely preparatory act.  They were found guilty of attempted burglary.

Jones (1990). The defendant had bought a shotgun, sawed off the end of the barrel and test fired it.  He later got into the back of the victim's car and pointed the gun at the victim.  The gun was loaded but the safety catch was on.  The victim was able to grab the gun and escape.  Although the defendant still had to remove the safety catch and pull the trigger it was held that he had performed sufficient acts that were more than merely preparatory and he was guilty of attempted murder.

The difference between merely preparatory and an attempt can be defined by asking the question 'has the defendant done an act which shows that he has actually tried to commit the offence in question, or... has he only got ready or put himself in a position or equipped himself to do so?'


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