What constitutes conspiracy?
A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people who are planning to act unlawfully by deceiving somebody else for their own personal gain. You do not have to actively carry out the alleged offence in order to be charged; planning a fraud may be sufficient evidence for you to face prosecution. If you have been accused of being part of a conspiracy to defraud, it is in your best interests to get in touch with a solicitor as soon as possible and we will deal with your case from the outset. We are available to represent you anywhere within the country and will defend your case for you in court if necessary.
There are two types of Conspiracy:
Conspiracy to commit offences by statute and Conspiracy to Defraud contrary to the common law
Conspiracy to commit offences by statute include:
• Conspiracy to import drugs
• Conspiracy to supply drugs
• Conspiracy to commit theft
• Conspiracy to evade duty
• Conspiracy to launder money
The common law offence of conspiracy to defraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. This offence is usually used by the prosecution when no alternative offence fits the facts.
What will the Crown Prosecution Service consider when deciding to charge someone with a Conspiracy Offence?
The essence of conspiracy is the agreement. When two or more people agree to carry out a criminal scheme, the plot itself is the criminal act. The prosecution must prove that there was a real intention to be a party to an agreement to do an unlawful act. The prosecution must prove that the accused was aware that the course of conduct agreed upon involved the commission of an offence (although not necessarily the exact type of offence).
How can a Solicitor Assist?
The law concerning conspiracy offences can be complex and you should always take legal advice before answering any questions from the police, and if charged, before you go to court. One would require the assistance of a criminal defence solicitor. At ULA Solicitors we are dedicated to providing clear advice to you in order to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome. This may be to advise at the police station which reduces the chances of you further incriminating yourself, or whether it be the advice of pleading guilty early in order to allow for a 25% reduction in sentence, or getting you an experienced barrister to ensure that you have the best chance if your matter was to proceed to trial. We will always listen to our client's instructions and act in accordance with these and their best interest.
As with other criminal law matters the government provides funding by way of legal aid. This is the same in the instance where the individual is charged in relation to a conspiracy offence. Again, the individual would have to qualify for legal aid on two grounds. Firstly, their disposable income must be below a certain amount and secondly, it must be in the interests of justice that they be represented. With such offences, as they carry lengthy custodial sentences the individual would most definitely satisfy the latter criterion.