A criminal conspiracy exists when two or more people agree to commit almost any unlawful act, and then take some action towards its completion. The action taken need not itself be a crime, but it must indicate that those involved in the conspiracy knew of the plan and intended to break the law. One person may be charged with and convicted of both conspiracy and the underlying crime based on the same circumstances.
For example, Chris, Stuart and Rob plan a bank robbery. They 1) visit the bank first to assess security, 2) pool their money and buy a gun together, and 3) write a demand letter. All three can be charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, regardless of whether the robbery itself is actually attempted or completed.
One might wonder how exactly the agreement between two co-conspirators actually takes place. First, the agreement does not need to be expressly conveyed. For instance, in the above example, Chris isn’t required to tell Stuart and Rob in unequivocal terms “I agree to commit a conspiracy with you”.
Instead, the agreement may be implicit or shown by the action of “two or more guilty minds”, as required under common law.
As with other specific intent crimes your intention means everything. But that is not the only intent the court will be concerned with.
Not only does one other individual in the conspiracy need to intend to agree, all parties must intend to achieve the same outcome.
In simple terms, knowledge of a crime is not enough to secure a conviction. For instance, just because your friend tells you he is going to deal drugs, does not make you a part of a conspiracy to supply drugs; not unless you also agree to help by cutting and weighing the substances.
That is where having a specialist Conspiracy Solicitor on your side helps. We can decipher all of the evidence and assist and defend.
A conspiracy conviction can attract a lengthy custodial sentence depending upon the underlying crime. It is possible to be punished for both the conspiracy and the actual crime itself if it were completed. For example, if one is charged and convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery and the actual crime of robbery one must suffer the consequences of both.
On many occasions lawyers at Conspiracy Solicitor have negotiated with the prosecution to accept pleas to the substantive offence and offer no evidence on the conspiracy to reduce the minimum sentence that can be imposed.
The law appertaining to conspiracy is complex and governed by draconian legislation dating back to 1977 but on conviction invariably attracts a lengthy custodial sentence.
It is important to have a knowledgeable legal defence team on board to guide you through the complex area of law and invariably the case will encompass thousands of pages of prosecution evidence, whether it be covert surveillance or mobile telephone attribution evidence.
Due to the nature of the offence and the evidential requirements, conspiracy can be a difficult offence to prosecute. However, it is a very serious offence to be charged with and the penalty for conspiracy can be severe so the accused should immediately instruct solicitors with experience in this area of law.
We at Conspiracy Solicitor know that would-be conspirators often attempt to keep as little evidence as possible of any agreements so finding evidence can be complicated. Even if evidence of one of the conspirators does exist, the reliability of that evidence can be open to question and often is.
The actual legislation can be found here;-