You can be guilty of burglary, even if you do not enter the premises. This is due to a legal concept called secondary liability. This can also be applied to other offences such as theft, murder and assault.
Are You Guilty As A Getaway Driver ?
If you need a solicitor, please contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors. We specialise in criminal defence law and can represent you throughout proceedings, starting with the police station interview. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In law, there is a concept called secondary liability – which is sometimes also known as joint enterprise. It applies to situations where the defendant helped or encouraged another person to commit an offence. Take burglary, for example. You can be a secondary party to burglary if you act as a lookout or a getaway driver. You do not enter the premises yourself: but your presence is assisting the offence take place. This makes you guilty too.
This is exactly what happened in the case of Gilmartin. The defendant was a getaway driver for three men who entered a house, held the occupant at knifepoint and stole £80,000 worth of jewellery. The defendant remained outside while this was happening, but drove the men away afterwards. CCTV footage also showed that he had visited the scene earlier on what appeared to be a reconnaissance mission.
The defendant was handed 13 years’ imprisonment. He took his case to the Court of Appeal, but his appeal was rejected. It was found that he had played a significant role in the offence, as he supplied and drove the getaway car. And while he did not actually enter the property or threaten the occupant at knifepoint, the crime could not have been committed without his involvement.
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This often comes as a surprise to those who are caught up in criminal offences. Some assume that because they played a lesser role, they will be treated more leniently by the courts. However, this is not always true: it very much depends on the circumstances. If secondary liability applies, then the defendant could be just as guilty as the person who physically committed the crime.
That is why no matter what your level of involvement, it is absolutely vital to get representation from a criminal defence solicitor at an early stage. By an early stage, we mean at the police station. It is your legal right to free legal representation at the police station, and we strongly recommend that you exercise this right. Even if you were not the one to pull the trigger (literally or metaphorically speaking), you could still be treated as such.
At Ashmans Solicitors, we have a specialist team of criminal defence solicitors. If you are accused of a criminal offence, please contact us for free legal advice. We also offer free police station representation. If the prosecution argues a case of secondary liability, we will robustly defend your position, working to secure the best possible outcome.
Getaway Drivers and Secondary Liability
If you need a solicitor for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact us at Ashmans Solicitors for free legal advice.
Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.