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    Parasitic Liability

    This involves a situation where one of the parties commits a second crime. A difficulty arises as to whether the other parties are principals or accessories to the first or second crime. In other words, in a situation where A and B participate together in committing a crime and in that process B commits another offence, which A had anticipated he might commit, will A be a principal or an accessory to the first crime? This is the controversial part of joint enterprise. According to the Crown Prosecution Service, A can be a principal or an accessory to the first crime.[1] A is also criminally responsible for the second offence, but only as an accessory. A’s intention for the second offence to be committed is immaterial. It must be proved that A foresaw or contemplated that B would commit the actus reus of the second offence with the requisite mens rea.[2]

    A’s liability to the second offence is invariably referred to as “parasitic liability” or “parasitic accessory liability.”[3] This liability, therefore, rests on A’s contemplation or foresight of a probable collateral offence committed by B.[4] This rule was set out in Chan Wing-Siu v R,[5] where the appellants were part of an armed gang who went to the deceased’s house to commit a robbery. In the course of the robbery, one of the robbers stabbed the victim to death, and the appellants were convicted as accomplices. The appeal was dismissed. The Privy Council held that for accessories to be guilty of murder, evidence that they foresaw death or grievous bodily harm as a probable outcome of their common mission, is sufficient. Put differently, an accessory can be guilty of murder if it is shown that he had foreseen that his co-offenders might stab the victim with an intention to cause grievous harm.

    Similarly, in the case of R v Cogan and Leak,[6] B convinced C to rape D, telling him she liked forceful sex without consent, and that her struggle in the course of the act was a sign of enjoyment. B and C were found guilty of rape, but C suc

    [1] Ibid, 5.

    [2] Ibid.

    [3] Ibid.

    [4] Jacobson, Kirby and Hunter, above n 1, iv.

    [5] [1985] AC 168.

    [6] [1976] QB 217………………….

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