R v Rook [1993] 2 All ER 955

Key point

  • For an accused to successfully withdraw from a criminal enterprise that he had participated in, the minimum requirement is unequivocal communication of his withdrawal to other perpetrators


  • A man hired 3 men, including the appellant (D) to kill his wife
  • On the day itself D did not turn up, the wife was killed by the other 2 men
  • D was convicted for murder as part of a joint enterprise, he had assisted and encouraged the crime


  • Had D effectively withdrawn from the crime by not turning up?

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Appeal dismissed – D had not sufficiently withdrawn himself

Lloyd LJ

  • D’s absence on the day the crime was committed could not amount to ‘unequivocal communication’ of his withdrawal to the others, thus he did not do the ‘minimum’ to effectively withdraw from the crime
  • It is unnecessary to decide in this case whether unequivocal communication of withdrawal is enough in itself to withdraw D (had he done so) or further steps must have been taken to neutralise his assistance