Rex v Croft: CCA 1944

A person who was present at the suicide of another and who assisted or encouraged the suicide, is guilty of murder as a principal in the second degree. The survivor of a suicide pact was properly convicted of murder. The court considered liability for suicide as an accessory.

Lawrence J said: ‘Counsel for the appellant also complains that the summing-up does not contain any reference to the possibility of the agreement to commit suicide having been determined. It is true that the learned judge does not deal expressly with that matter except in a passage where he says: ‘Even if you accept his statement in the witness-box that the vital and second shot was fired when he had gone through that window, he would still be guilty of murder if she was then committing suicide as the result of an agreement which they had mutually arrived at that that should be the fate of both of them, and it is no answer for him that he altered his mind after she was dead and did not commit suicide himself. The authorities, however, such as they are, show, in our opinion, that the appellant, to escape being held guilty as an accessory before the fact must establish that he expressly countermanded or revoked the advising counselling, procuring or abetting which he had previously given.’
. . and ‘We are of opinion that the circumstances in this case did not amount, and could not reasonably have been held to amount, to such a clear countermanding or determination of the agreement as would discharge the appellant from liability to a charge of murder if that which occurred was the result of what he had done before. He never said anything to the woman which could have removed from her mind the effect of the counsel which he had previously given her.’
Lawrence J
[1944] 1 KB 295
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedPurdy, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 30-Jul-2009
Need for Certainty in Scope of Offence
The appellant suffered a severe chronic illness and anticipated that she might want to go to Switzerland to commit suicide. She would need her husband to accompany her, and sought an order requiring the respondent to provide clear guidelines on the . .
CitedRegina v Becerra and Cooper CACD 1975
The defendants sought leave to appeal against their convictions for a brutal and horrific murder. Becerra suggeste dtat he had wanted to withdraw from the event before the murder took place.
Held: The appeal failed: ‘ in the circumstances then . .
CitedNicklinson and Another, Regina (on The Application of) SC 25-Jun-2014
Criminality of Assisting Suicide not Infringing
The court was asked: ‘whether the present state of the law of England and Wales relating to assisting suicide infringes the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether the code published by the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 September 2021; Ref: scu.373403