What is Conspiracy to Murder?
A conspiracy offence is when two or more people agree to commit an offence. Accordingly, a Conspiracy to Murder is when two or more people form an agreement to Murder someone. The agreement can be express (a direct agreement) or implied (by behaviour or course of conduct) and an intention to kill must be present. This is distinct from the offence of Murder where the required intent is an intention to kill or cause serious injury.
Can someone be guilty of Conspiracy to Murder when no one has died?
The offence of Murder does not need to have been committed for person to be convicted of conspiracy to murder. Therefore, an individual can be convicted of a Conspiracy to Murder even when no one has died.
Alternatively, if a person has been killed, a suspect who was not present but who was instrumental in an agreement or played a role preparing or organising the Murder can be convicted of Conspiracy to Murder.
What needs to be proven for Conspiracy to Murder?
It is for the prosecution to convince a jury (beyond reasonable doubt) that the person standing trial was part of an agreement with others to commit Murder and that there was an intention to kill. It sounds straightforward but these types of agreements are rarely recorded or written down meaning that other evidence is needed for the prosecution to prove their case.
What evidence is used in a Conspiracy to Murder case?
Cases involving a death will likely have evidence surrounding the murder scene and the victim’s body. This will be used to show that the victim was murdered and attempt to establish who was responsible.
However, but for a conspiracy case evidence to show an agreement and intention is needed. This will involve anything the prosecution can to show the contact between the defendants and what was planned. This will often include data from mobile phone handsets and information from network providers such as cell site or billing data.
ANPR data may be used to show movement of vehicles. Witness to particular conduct of defendants might also give evidence. The prosecution case may also include surveillance or CCTV evidence to show that defendants have met one another or that a defendant performed a particular action or purchase.
The court may also be presented with physical evidence such as a weapons or clothing. Forensic evidence found on key items or locations such as DNA, fingerprints, blood spatter or gunshot residue is also likely to be relevant.
How to defend Conspiracy to Murder?
As with many successful defences, Conspiracy to Murder is best defended by thorough and detailed scrutiny of the evidence. Whilst many cases are taken to trial and require a jury to make a decision, it is possible to have a conspiracy to murder charge dismissed by the judge if they are satisfied that there is ‘no case to answer.’
Can Conspiracy to Murder be Manslaughter instead?
Those charged with conspiracy to Murder may on occasion be convicted of Manslaughter as an alternative. Involuntary Manslaughter is a lesser offence to murder where the accused has committed an unlawful act that has caused the death of another person. There is no requirement to intend to kill (or cause serious injury) for this type of Manslaughter. Whilst is it still a very serious offence the sentence for manslaughter is often less severe than for Murder.
A person accused of Conspiracy to Murder could instead be convicted of Manslaughter if the court is satisfied that their unlawful act caused the death of the victim but that they didn’t intend for the victim to die or receive serious injuries.
What should I do if I am arrested for Conspiracy to Murder?
The most important thing to do if you are arrested for a Conspiracy to commit Murder is to ask for the advice of a solicitor. If you are arrested for this offence you will be interviewed by the police.
Police interviews for Conspiracy to Murder offences are often very lengthy and complex. Conspiracies in general can be hard to prove and meaning the police will be desperate to collect evidence from questioning suspects. They may withhold certain key information or use interrogation tactics that will confuse or frustrate a suspect. The main purpose of a police interview is to collect evidence by questioning and police questioning will nearly always be with the aim of the suspect incriminating themselves or others. It is important to remember that just because a person has been arrested for an offence of conspiracy to murder it does not necessarily mean that there is sufficient evidence to charge them.
Anyone interviewed by the police has a right to the advice of a solicitor. A specialist solicitor can assist you by sitting down with the police before the interview to get as much information about the case as possible. They will then meet with you and listen to your side of the story and will advise you on the correct approach to take in the interview. They will stay with you during the interview to make sure that you remember to follow their advice and that the police conduct the interview properly. Many of those arrested for conspiracy to murder who do not face charges often have the advice of their solicitor to thank for it.
What do I do if I or a loved one have been charged with Conspiracy to Murder?
If you or a loved one have been charged with Conspiracy to Murder you should seek expert advice straight away. You will need to be fully advised and guided through every stage of the case. At Olliers Solicitors, we have a team of lawyers who are experts in defending allegations such as these and we will work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome. Contact us by telephone on 0161 834 1515, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below.