ACT Criminal Law
National Criminal Law
NSW Criminal Law
QLD Criminal Law
VIC Criminal Law
WA Criminal Law
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Who Has Criminal Liability? (Vic)
When a crime is committed by two or more people, everyone involved can be held responsible under the criminal law. The principles surrounding criminal liability for physical acts committed by others used to be governed by the common law. They were known variously as ‘common purpose’, ‘acting in concert’, and ‘joint criminal enterprise’. There was a lot of disagreement and inconsistency about the definition and application of these different terms. As a result, the criminal liability of persons involved in the commission of offences has now been codified in Sections 323 to 324C of the Victorian Crimes Act 1958. This article outlines what the prosecution must prove for the court to find a person guilty under these provisions.
Person involved in an offence
Section 324 of the Crimes Act is a ‘catch-all’ provision that replaces the confusing common law principles of ‘common purpose’, ‘joint criminal enterprise’ and ‘acting in concert’. Those principles no longer apply. Section 324 of the Crimes Act, which has replaced them, states:
If an offence is committed, any person who is involved is taken to have committed the offence and is liable for the maximum penalty that applies to the offence.
A person is not taken to have committed an offence if they withdraw from the agremeent before the offence has begun.
This means that if a person is proven to have participated in any way in the commission of the offence, and has not withdrawn, they are criminally liable and are subject to the same maximum penalty as the principal.
How is criminal liability proven?
For a person to be found guilty under section 324, the following must be proven:
- That two or more people agreed to take part in a criminal activity and the agreement was still in place at the time the crime was committed;
- That the accused participated;
- That one or more parties performed all the acts necessary to make out the offence;
- The accused had the state of mind that is required for the offence to be made out at the time the agreement was formed.
The principal offender does not have to have been found guilty of the offence for a co-offender to be found to have criminal liability under Section 324.
What does ‘participate’ mean?
Under section 323 participation in a criminal activity includes:
- The intentional assistance, encouragement or direction of the commission of the offence;
- The intentional assistance, encouragement or direction of the commission of another offence where it was probable that the offence being prosecuted would be carried out;
- The entry into an agreement, arrangement or understanding with one or more other persons to commit a criminal offence;
- The entry into an agreement, arrangement or understanding with one or more others to commit another offence where it was probable the offence charged would be carried out;
Unlike section 324, for criminal liability under this section to be proven, the accused does not need to have reached an agreement with the principal, but only to have encouraged or assisted them. Mere presence at the scene of the offence does not constitute encouragement. The accused must have said or done something to adopt or contribute to the offence.
A person can be involved in committing an offence through an act or omission. In some circumstances, such as where an accused is the parent of a juvenile, a failure to discourage the offence may be found to amount to involvement.
Withdrawing from an offence
Under Section 324(2) if a person has withdrawn from an offence, they are not guilty of participating in the offence.
Case law has established that a person effectively withdraws from a criminal agreement if:
- They encouraged the commission of the offence, but subsequently issued a ‘timely countermand’;
- They had agreed to participate in an offence but communicated their intention to abandon the agreement in a timely manner to the others involved. What is timely will depend on the facts but should amount to unequivocal notice to the other persons involved that if they continue the endeavour they will be doing so without support or assistance. from the person.
- The withdrawal must be effective if the person is to be excused from criminal responsibility. It is not enough for the person to have simply changed their mind.
Under Section 325, where a person has committed a serious indictable offence and another person, knowing them to be guilty of the serious indictable offence, does any act to impede their apprehension, conviction, prosecution and punishment, that person is also guilty of an indictable offence.
Where a person is found not guilty of an offence as a principal, they may still be found guilty as an accessory if there is proof that the offence was committed with their participation.
The legislation sets out the maximum penalty that applies to a person found guilty as an accessory. In most cases, this is not more than five years imprisonment or half of the maximum penalty that applies to the principal offender. The exception to this is where the principal is punishable by life imprisonment. In this case, an accessory faces a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 20 years.
If you require legal advice or representation please contact Armstrong Legal.
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