Conspiracy, Aiding, and Abetting

It is a general rule in criminal law that one who aids and assists another person to commit an offence which only such other person can commit may be equally guilty with the latter as a principal or as an accessory before the fact, depending upon the evidence showing his relation to the actual commission of the crime[i].   There may be conspiracy between two or more persons to receive a bribe.  There may also be a conspiracy involving two or more persons to offer a bribe.  In such situation, the defendant may be charged with the crime of bribery as well as with a conspiracy to commit bribery.

If the recipient of a bribe actively participates in the conspiracy to offer the bribe, he/she is chargeable as an aider and abettor in the crime of offering the bribe.  Moreover, if there is a statutory prohibition of an act permitting oneself to be influenced by a bribe, the recipient who is charged as aider and abettor cannot raise the defense that his or her conduct was inevitably incident to the offense.

[i] Commonwealth v. Mannos, 311 Mass. 94 (Mass. 1942)


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