We do get some strange complaints these days

Currently there are at least 109 women and girls in prison who are serving long sentences for joint enterprise crimes, but research by Manchester Metropolitan University suggests they have been wrongly convicted using the controversial law on secondary liability, which allows an individual to be jointly convicted of a crime committed by another, if they foresaw that the other person was likely to commit it.

The majority have convictions for serious violence, with over three-quarters convicted of murder or manslaughter.

However, according to the report, almost half of the women disclosed that they were experiencing domestic violence at the time of the offence, and in 87 per cent of cases, the perpetrator of the abuse was a co-defendant.

A larger number had experienced violence or abuse as adults or children, with repeated failures by the police or other agencies to protect them. But their histories of abuse and trauma were generally ignored or used against them at trial.

The study also revealed that the women were often marginal to the event: in no case did any use a deadly weapon, 90 per cent engaged in no violence at all, and in half of the cases the women were not even present at the scene.

Yet they were convicted and punished in the same way,

Well, yes. That’s what joint enterprise means. That mebbe you weren’t there, you certainly didn’t swing the hammer that crushed the skull. But you’re still criminally responsible. That’s the whole point of the concept.

Boyfriend goes out and kills hubby, gets some rumpy when he comes back. Not guilty. Boyfriend gets told that he ain’t ‘avin’ rumpy if husband still alive. Guilty. Vague words about ridding of this troublesome husband, rumpy, mebbe, mebbe not.

But that she ain’t there when hubby cops it doesn’t mean she’s innocent, that’s the entire point of this concept of joint enterprise.

18 thoughts on “We do get some strange complaints these days”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    And it isn’t there for giggles either. Imagine how many boyfriends would be encouraged to kill hubby and then dobbed to kill 2 birds.

    And anyone who think women aren’t capable of that sort of deviousness must have bought a few bridges.

  2. Funny. As soon as I read “research by Manchester Metropolitan University” I had a strange feeling that this would be some woke clickbait.

  3. It’s all a part of the ongoing campaign that says women shouldn’t be sent to prison because of equality, or because they’re all lovely, or something like that.

  4. Yes, if you’re part of a gang of ‘youths’ who beat someone into a coma, or to death, you are regarded as being jointly responsible. Don’t be part of that gang, simple as.

  5. Funny how they can use a patriarchal term like “women and girls” when it suits them. Tells you who the intended audience is.

  6. @decnine: “How do the authors self-identify?”

    > Its co-author, Becky Clarke, a senior criminology lecturer…

    My research interests are broad, but framed by a number of distinct yet connected
    debates listed below.

    – The gendered experience of penal and welfare policies.

    Potential McDonald’s worker. If McDonald’s will have them.

  7. From my extensive research in this field ie watching Law and Order, wouldn’t this translate into “Murder Two” or some similar designation in the USA ?
    Perhaps that’s a better idea : describing it as it is and assisting in a killing or not preventing one.

  8. The Other Bloke in Italy

    If I remember correctly, the Scottish term is “Art and Part”, and everyone involved is guilty.

  9. Note that they say almost half “disclosed” that they were being abused. Perhaps the correct term is “claimed”. When a member of an official victim class says something it is taken as TRUE.

  10. Generally I can guess from the first sentence of Tim’s article which publication the linked quote came from.

    In this case I would have been all-in for perennial favourite the Guardian. The fact that it came from the Telegraph is yet more evidence of how far that paper has fallen.

  11. ‘some similar designation in the USA’

    An accessory before the fact.

    Aiding, abetting, or encouraging* the crime. An accomplice.

    You don’t need to be present to win.

    *Common definitions of accessory before the fact say, “aiding, abetting, or encouraging.” Pendants will note that abetting includes encouraging, so the stock definition is odd.

  12. ‘Currently there are at least 109 women and girls in prison who are serving long sentences for joint enterprise crimes, but research by Manchester Metropolitan University suggests they have been wrongly convicted using the controversial law on secondary liability, which allows an individual to be jointly convicted of a crime committed by another, if they foresaw that the other person was likely to commit it.’

    Christ on a moped.

    ‘109 women and girls’ means they aren’t serious. ‘109 people’ would work better, and wouldn’t give away that they are Leftist pricks.

    There is no evidence they were ‘wrongly convicted.’ That some dingbats at MMU don’t like the law doesn’t make convictions ‘wrong.’ Under common law, principals were treated more severely than accessories, but accessories were still convicted and punished. What has changed is that many jurisdictions have done away with the distinction, treating accessories same as principles. This change is so widespread, I assume its a good idea. And it’s damn sure not ‘contraversial.’

    Anywho, the MMU gripe is that this old change affects wimmins, OH NOES!

  13. I think what some people (including TW) is missing is that there is a distinction between “joint enterprise” and “conspiracy to …”, “aiding and abetting …”, etc.
    In the examples given by TW and others, if you encourage someone to do something bad, then you are conspiring or whatever. It’s a positive act of encouraging that a crime takes place – or at the very least of knowing that one was going tom or likely to be, committed and doing nothing to stop it.

    Joint enterprise is very different, and yes I do think it’s a bad law – as I hope any decent person would once they understand it. Consider you’ve gone for a night out with your mates, one or two of them have perhaps one too many (hands up, how many can honestly say that no-one on their office do’s is prone to drinking a little too much ?) and get a bit uninhibited as people with a few inside them are prone to do. So you’re walking along the road as a group (you, the more in control ones, may even be trying to get your mates home safely), someone outside the group says something that winds up one of your mates, a kerfuffle ensues, and someone ends up dead or seriously injured. You weren’t involved, you didn’t have a clue that one of your mates had a knife with him, you certainly didn’t know that it was being used, and in reality you had little or no way of intervening to stop things.
    But guess what – you were with the group, you can be guilty of joint enterprise. That manslaughter or GBH your mate committed without you having a clue it was likely to happen or was happening – well you’re guilty of it as well. So you certainly did nothing to encourage the crime, you did nothing to facilitate the crime, if you’d had a clue it was going to happen then you’d almost certainly have tried to prevent it – but you’re guilty of it.
    THAT is what joint enterprise is about.

    Does it sound such a good law now ?

    For background, the reason this bad law was brought in, like many bad laws, was to deal with a particular problem. Specifically, too many people were getting away with murder (literally in many cases) because the prosecution couldn’t prove who was holding the knife when someone was stabbed. So the obvious solution was to change the law so that it didn’t matter – you didn’t have to have done the stabbing, you didn’t need to have even held the knife at any time, you didn’t even need to know that a knife was around – you just had to be there and you were treated exactly the same as if you had done the stabbing.
    It’s a great law if you make several incorrect assumptions. Primarily you have to assume that everyone in a group is there for the same reasons, has the same motives, and would behave in the same way if positions in the group were interchanged. But that’s the nature of bad laws – victims (or relatives of victims) demand justice, something must be seen to be done, this is something, so it’s done. Those demanding the bad law don’t see the problems, they only see a solution to their own problem.

  14. Simon,

    The way you describe it makes it sound like a ghastly law, if it can be effectively abused in that way. Are there any obvious examples of what you describe above ever having taken place? My gut tells me that, the first time that happened, the appeal process (or other campaigning from media coverage?) would result in some change to it being pursued?

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