Complicity

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Definition

Description

An individual is complicit in a crime if he/she is aware of its occurrence and has the ability to report the crime, but fails to do so. As such, the individual effectively allows criminals to carry out a crime despite possibly being able to stop them, either directly or by contacting the authorities, thus making the individual a de facto accessory to the crime rather than an innocent bystander.

Law relating to complicity varies. Usually complicity is not a crime although this sometimes conflicts with popular perception. At a certain point a person that is complicit in a crime may become a conspirator depending on the degree of involvement by the individual and whether a crime was completed or not.

Complicity is a doctrine that operates to hold persons criminally responsible for the acts of others. Complicity encompasses accessorial and conspiratorial liability. Accessorial liability is frequently referred to as accomplice liability.

An accomplice is a person who helps another person commit a crime, Accomplice liability involves primary actors who actually participate in the commission of the crime and secondary actors who aid and encourage the primary actors. The aid can be either physical or psychological. The secondary actors are called accomplices. [1]