Definition of accessory before (or after) the fact in English:

accessory before (or after) the fact

phrase

Law
dated
  • A person who incites or assists someone to commit an arrestable offence (or knowingly aids someone who has committed such an offence).

    • ‘Well, he is liable, as was pointed out, to a number of other offences: accessory after the fact, destroying a motor car, theft of a motor car and various others - you could throw the book at him for the other offences.’
    • ‘Those who aided the commission of crime but were not present at the scene of the crime were regarded as accessories before the fact or principals in the third degree.’
    • ‘Jay is very shocked, but now he's implicated - an accessory before the fact - and he has no option but to talk it out with Ben.’
    • ‘On the weekend before I left, Mark was arrested for the murders and his wife was arrested as an accessory after the fact.’
    • ‘Those who knowingly harbor - that is shelter, protect, hide, or conceal these war criminals from being caught - in effect become accessories after the fact.’
    • ‘Did they want them to be accessories after the fact?’
    • ‘He said: ‘A wife could not be convicted of being an accessory after the fact for a felony committed by her husband.’’
    • ‘As the Attorney General's Office must be well aware, and the report confirms, the Church has been an accessory after the fact for decades and still is.’
    • ‘That is why under our [that is, US] Federal Law all distinctions between accomplices, between accessories before the fact and accessories after the fact, have been completely eliminated.’
    • ‘Wasn't everyone in that dressing room therefore guilty by association - ‘accessories before the fact’ as lawyers might say?’
    • ‘McConnell's wife was later arrested as an accessory after the fact.’
    • ‘Not guilty of being an accessory after the fact?’
    • ‘It could not have been found by the jury on the balance of probabilities that Verebes was a principal or accessory before the fact to the applicant's offending.’
    • ‘His live-in girlfriend was charged as an accessory after the fact to murder.’
    • ‘I was charged as an accessory before the fact because of what he told me.’
    • ‘Though Crippen was hanged for his wife's murder, Ethel's prosecution as an accessory after the fact in a subsequent trial was half-hearted and resulted in her acquittal.’
    • ‘I didn't reveal my earlier transgressions so as not to make him an accessory after the fact.’
    • ‘One was, firstly, whether the offender or the accused was indeed a primary offender; secondly, whether he was guilty of being an accessory after the fact.’
    • ‘Justice Benjamin also did not entertain a lesser charge of accessory after the fact, which he said was introduced too late in the proceedings.’
    • ‘McConnell was arrested as an accessory to murder after the fact.’