Attempt An attempt is an offence contrary to s.1 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 Definition: S.1(1) "If, with intent to commit an offence to which this section applies a person does an act which is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence he is guilty of attempting to commit the offence."
The scope of the offence: Can’t attempt to commit a conspiracy or to aid, abet etc a crime. Can attempt the impossible (s.1(2)&(3)).
The actus reus This is an act which is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence. There is no guidance in the statute as to the meaning of this term. Does it include omissions?
The old common law tests for attempt The Proximity Test Last Act Test
The Proximity Test This test required that the D ’ s acts were proximate to the crime, not remote from it or preparatory to it. Thus, in Eagleton (1855), Parke B stated that: “ Acts remotely leading towards the commission of the full offence are not to be considered as attempts to commit it, but acts connected with it are. ”
This test was approved by three HL judges shortly before the statute came into force in the case of Stonehouse (1978). However, the test was interpreted very restrictively so that in Robinson (1915), D, who had faked a robbery with a view to claiming insurance money in respect of the property alleged to have been stolen was not guilty as he had not sent in a claim form.
Last Act Test This was applied less often. This test focused on whether D had done the last act dependent on him. i.e. in the words of Lord Diplock in Stonehouse: “ crossed the Rubicon and burnt his boats ” (passed the point of no return).
The position under the statute Is it acceptable to refer to the old common law tests? See Gullefer (1990) which determined that the statute did not enact previous law but, rather, steered a “midway course” which was the natural meaning of s.1(1). Also see: Jones (1990) Campbell (1991) Geddes (1996) Tosti (1997) Patnaik (2000)
Mens rea The mens rea is the intention to commit an offence triable on indictment.
Conspiracy Statutory offence under s.1 Criminal Law Act 1977 Definition: An agreement between 2 or more parties to commit an offence. The offence is complete as soon as the agreement has been reached. Thus, it does not matter for liability that the agreed offence is never carried out or that a party later changes his mind about carrying out the agreed offence.
Mens rea Intention that the agreement be carried out and that the crime planned shall be committed. The parties must have knowledge of the facts and circumstances necessary to make the conduct planned a crime.
Incitement A common law offence Inciting another person to commit an offence (it is irrelevant whether the offence is actually committed) by persuasion, suggestion, threatening or by pressure or other means of encouragement, see Race Relations Board v Applin (1973).
Mens Rea D must intend the offence which was incited to be committed and intend any consequences inherent in the actus reus of the offence. (Thus, to be liable for inciting murder, D must intend the incitee to kill. If he merely intends the incitee to do serious harm but the incitee kills, D will only be liable for inciting s.18).
D must also intend or believe that the person incited will act with the required mens rea for the offence incited. It is not necessary to establish that the person who was incited had the mens rea for the offence incited (DPP v Armstrong (2000)).