The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has rejected allegations of bias after a New York Times article found that black defendants are more likely to be convicted under joint enterprise laws in the UK.

Joint enterprise – get expert legal advice

Joint enterprise is a legal concept that means you can be convicted of an offence, even if you were not the one who actually committed the crime.

If you are in this position, you need to get expert legal representation. This is a complex area of law with potentially serious consequences. Our criminal defence solicitors can help you. Contact us now – we can take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What is joint enterprise?

Joint enterprise – also known as a secondary liability – is a law which allows someone to be convicted of a crime which was committed by someone else. For example, a group of individuals may be convicted of murder, even if only one person dealt the fatal blow.

We have written about joint enterprise in detail here: Can You Be Charged with Murder Even If You Didn’t Deal the Fatal Blow?

Joint enterprise – ongoing controversy

In 2016, the Supreme Court concluded that the law on joint enterprise had been wrongly interpreted for 30 years. At the time, it was thought this would lead to a drop in joint enterprise prosecutions. It was also anticipated that more offenders would pursue an appeal following a conviction under joint enterprise laws.

However, neither of these things has come to fruition.

Figures obtained by the New York Times

In fact, figures obtained by the New York Times show that the number of joint enterprise prosecutions has actually increased by 42% since the Supreme Court’s decision, despite the murder rate remaining broadly stable. The number of convictions rose by 50%.

Furthermore, the data reveals that black defendants are three times as likely as white defendants to be prosecuted for homicide as a group of four or more.

The CPS has rejected allegations of bias, stating: “If a person helps or encourages another to commit a murder, it is right they can face prosecution for their involvement in the crime.”

Related: Getaway Drivers Can Be Found Guilty of Burglary

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