Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary
a defense that claims the defendant would not have broken the law if not tricked into doing it by law enforcement officials
n. in criminal law, the act of law enforcement officers or government agents inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal expresses a desire not to go ahead. The key to entrapment is whether the idea for the commission or encouragement of the criminal act originated with the police or government agents instead of with the “criminal.” Entrapment, if proved, is a defense to a criminal prosecution. The accused often claims entrapment in so-called “stings” in which undercover agents buy or sell narcotics, prostitutes’ services or arrange to purchase goods believed to be stolen. The factual question is: Would Johnny Begood have purchased the drugs if not pressed by the narc?
Giving a person the opportunity to commit a crime, with a view to securing a conviction. Entrapment has no particular status under English law: in theory, if it amounts to Incitement or Conspiracy then it is an offence, whatever the motive. At the same time, it is not unlawful in itself, as it is in some jurisdictions.
It is not, in general, a defence for the defendant to claim that his offence resulted from entrapment. Before the passage of the Police And Criminal Evidence Act (1984) judges had no real discretion to penalise the Crown for the use of such procedures. Now under s.78 of that Act a judge may rule evidence obtained by entrapment inadmissible. This will only be effective if it is shown that the introduction of the evidence is prejudicial to the fairness of the trial beyond its probative value. However, the Human Rights Act (1998) gives effect to the ‘right to a fair trial’, and it may be that courts will come under increased pressure to strike out entrapment cases. For a discussion of s.78, see improperly obtained evidence.
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This glossary post was last updated: 28th April, 2020 | 0 Views.