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R v Bainbridge [1960]

R v Bainbridge [1960] 1 QB 129 clarified the requirement for guilt in aiding and abetting, stating that the accessory must have knowledge of the intention of the principal to commit an offence of the type that was actually committed.


The case involved the sale of oxygen-cutting equipment by the accused, Bainbridge, which was later used in breaking into a bank. Bainbridge admitted to suspecting that the equipment might be intended for illegal purposes but denied having knowledge of its specific use in the committed crime.


During the trial, the judge directed the jury to convict if they were satisfied that Bainbridge had knowledge of the intention to commit the type of crime that was ultimately committed. Bainbridge appealed, arguing that the judge had misdirected the jury.


The Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed the appeal, upholding the judge's direction. Lord Parker CJ clarified that it is sufficient to demonstrate knowledge of the intention to commit a crime of the type that was committed, and any assistance provided with that knowledge would contribute to the commission of the crime. Importantly, it was ruled that knowledge of the particular location and date of the crime is not a prerequisite.


In summary, the court emphasised that suspicion, without actual knowledge of the type of offence intended, is insufficient for establishing guilt in aiding and abetting.


Check out our exam-focused Criminal Law notes now.


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