Crimes Committed by Directors Attributed to Corporations - Why Should Directors be Accessory?: Viewing through the Complicity Rules in Common Law
A corporation is unable to do anything, let alone commit an offence, without its human agent who factually commits the crime that can be legally attributed to the corporate entity. By virtue of such an attribution, a company can be held criminally liable either as a principal or an accessory depending on the applicable law. However, common law makes a corporation liable only if its human agent acts as the company. Australian courts have interpreted that a company can be primarily liable for the conduct of a director who can simultaneously be an accessory to the company¿s offence for the same conduct. This article argues that such a differentiation of perpetrators contradicts the common law principles of accessorial liability, and submits that both the company and the director can be held primarily liable under the rules of complicity, which would be more logical than downgrading the criminality of the director.