NSW Accessory to a Crime - Charge with Same Criminal Offence?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


Well-Known Member
10 July 2014
Hi there.

If an individual was an accessory to a crime, or a principle in the second degree, would they still be charged with the offence itself under criminal law?

For example, if an individual acted as an accessory before the fact by stealing house keys in order to allow a friend to steal from a property, however they did not participate in any further role, would the fact that they acted as an accessory lead to them being charged with the offence under criminal law, regardless of their participation in the offence?

Further explanation would be much appreciated.

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi Toqual,

Generally, they would not be charged with the actual crime itself. Usually, with most crimes, there is a separate offence for being accessory or assisting in the crime. They would be charged with this (e.g. see robbery offences).

In rare cases, the legislation itself may be drafted in a way whereby an accessory would be deemed committing the crime (in very serious offences for example, some money laundering/terrorism offences). In such cases, the legislation would tell you.