Johnson v Youden: KBD 1950

For a charge of aiding and abetting, the defendant must be shown to have been aware of the essential elements of his acts which constituted the complete crime. However, that may be inferred if a defendant shuts his eyes to the obvious.
Lord Goddard CJ said: ‘Before a person can be convicted of aiding and abetting the commission of an offence he must at least know the essential matters which constitute that offence.’ and ‘He need not actually know that an offence has been committed, because he may not know that the facts constitute an offence and ignorance of the law is not a defence. If a person knows all the facts and is assisting another person to do certain things, and it turns out that the doing of those things constitutes an offence, the person who is assisting is guilty of aiding an abetting that offence, because to allow him to say, ‘I knew of all those facts but I did not know that an offence was committed’, would be allowing him to set up ignorance of the law as a defence.’


Lord Goddard CJ


[1950] 1 KB 544, [1950] 1 All ER 301, 114 JP 136

Cited by:

CitedWebster v Regina CACD 3-Mar-2006
The appellant challenged his conviction for aiding an abetting the causing of death by dangerous driving as a passenger. The driver had been drunk.
Held: The mere intoxication of the driver was not of itself and alone sufficient to establish . .
CitedEquality and Human Rights Commission v Prime Minister and Others Admn 3-Oct-2011
The defendant had published a set of guidelines for intelligence officers called upon to detain and interrogate suspects. The defendant said that the guidelines could only be tested against individual real life cases, and that the court should not . .
CitedABC and Others, Regina v CACD 26-Mar-2015
Several defendants sought to appeal against convictions. They were public officials accused of having committed misconduct in public office in the sale of information relating to their work to journalists. The journalists were convicted of . .
CitedJogee and Ruddock (Jamaica) v The Queen SC 18-Feb-2016
Joint Enterprise Murder
(and in Privy Council) The two defendants appealed against their convictions (one in Jamaica) for murder, under the law of joint enterprise. Each had been an accessory when their accomplice killed a victim with a knife. The judge in Jogee had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.240050