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    Rule of Joint Enterprise

    This rule was propounded in the 2008 case of R v Rahman.[1] The case concerned a historical altercation between two groups of white males and Asian males. The first encounter involved minor violence in which the Asians sustained serious injuries and developed a sense of vengeance. Two days later, an opportunity to avenge arose when a group of armed Asians saw the victim and his friends from a close range. The common mission of the Asians was to cause more serious injuries than they suffered. One of the Asian men fatally stabbed the victim, causing him an injury of at least 8 cm deep. Pathological report described the injury as fatal and indicated that the unknown principal had an intention to kill. The four appellants were convicted as accessories to the murder committed by the principal. On appeal, they argued that the trial judge should have distinguished between their common mission of causing serious harm and, based on the medical report, the principal’s intent to kill. The further argued that the jury erred in not considering that school of thought. According to the jury, the appellants had knowledge of the knife, and its use in the commission of murder was not radically different from the common purpose to kill. The House of Lords unanimously dismissed the appeal. According to Lord Nueberger, even if the principal offender had an intention to kill the deceased, an alleged accomplice should not go without conviction simply because he only anticipated the principal’s intention to cause serious harm and not to kill. It was further held that the mere fact that the principal had

    [1] [2008] UKHL 45, [2009] 1 AC 129.

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