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R v Fitzmaurice

[1983] 1 All ER 189

Case summary last updated at 11/01/2020 14:33 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Fitzmaurice

 A wanted to get the reward for thwarting a robbery. He asked D to recruit some people to rob V (who was complicit with A) when V was walking down the street. A and the people he recruited all believed the robbery was genuine. Before the robbery could occur, A called the police and the recruited people and D were arrested. The recruited people were acquitted on the basis that there could be no crime (since V was complicit- BEFORE Shivpuri) However D was convicted of unlawfully inciting others to commit a robbery. He appealed on the grounds that there could be no actual crime. However CA dismissed his claim, saying that incitement is an offence regardless of the incited parties’ reactions. Indeed if D were to incite X and X did nothing, then D would still be guilty of incitement. Similarly if D incited X to commit a crime and it turned out that X could not commit the crime, as here, D was still guilty of inciting X to commit an offence. The CA say that as long as the general crime is possible (i.e. going to rob a woman, as here), then it is irrelevant that in this particular case the crime couldn’t be committed. It is still logical for the inciter to be convicted where the specific target or crime is impossible, provided the overall conduct he advocates is criminal. 

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