Assistance after the offence

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Under s.4 of the it is an offence knowingly to carry out any act with intent to impede the apprehension or prosection of a person known guilty of a arrestable offence.

Although it is, in general, an offence to attempt to commit an offence, it is not an offence to attempt to commit out an offence under this section: the act must actually happen.

Although this offence has similarities with being an Accomplice to an offence, it is legally distinct, and a person can be guitly of both aiding and abetting, and seeking to prevent arrest.

As for an accomplice, a person charged with impeding apprehension can be found guilty even if the person who committed the offence is acquitted. However, the statute does state that assistance must be rendered to the person who committed the offence, not to a person who is believed to have committed the offence. This means that in the trial of the assistant, the principal must be shown to be guilty, even if he has himself been acquited. As for an accomplice, the conviction of the principal is evidence against the assistant, but the acquital of the principal is not even admissible as evidence. If X believes that Y raped Z -- when he did not, lacking the Mens Rea -- and helps Y to evade prosecution, he is not guilty of an offence unless Y can be proven to be guilty in the trial of X. However, if X assists Y to commit an act that X believes to be rape, but is not, then he can still be convicted of being an accomplice to rape.

There are separate offences relating to accepting money for discouraging a prosecution; they have no specific names in current legistlation, so are indexed under their archaic names Compounding and misprision.

Criminal Law