Examples might include the person who 'spikes' a driver's drink with alcohol knowing he may drive later and endanger lives.

Under Sec 8 of the Accessories and Abettors Act 1861  'Whosoever shall aid, abet, counsel, or procure the commission of [any indictable offence], whether the same be [an offence] at common law or by virtue of any Act passed or to be passed, shall be liable to be tried, indicted, and punished as a principal offender.'  


In Attorney General’s Reference (No.1 0f 1975) the Court of Appeal held that each of the four words, aid, abet, counsel and procure, had a separate meaning.


Procuring means ‘to produce by endeavour’. In other words setting out to see that a crime happens and taking appropriate steps to bring it about.  In Attorney General’s Reference (No.1 of 1975) (1975) the Court of Appeal  decided that procuring meant causing it or bringing it about.  An example can be found in the case itself which involved a secondary party who had spiked a driver's (the principal offender) drink with alcohol knowing that there would be a chance that he would later drive.  The secondary offender was found liable even though the driver was unaware that the secondary offender had spiked his drink. There must be a causal link between the procuring and the crime committed by the principal. In other words did the defendant’s act cause the offence to be committed?

Secondary liability gives the prosecution the opportunity to proceed against the principal offender who committed the crime and against others who were involved in the commission of the offence. Secondary liability is a common law doctrine.



Liability of Secondary Parties





Before the crime



At the time of the crime






Secondary Party;

Joint Enterprise;

Joint Principals;

Actus Reus For Secondary Participation;

Mens Rea For Secondary Participation;


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