R v Tyrrell [1894] 1 QB 710

Key point

  • Where a statutory offence is created with the intention of creating a group of victims, a victim cannot be an accessory to the offence (known as the ‘Victim Rule’)


  • D was a girl who was charged and convicted for aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring a man to have sex with her while she was below 16, contrary to s5 Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885


  • Can a D be an accessory to a crime committed against herself?

Held (Crown Cases Reserved)

  • Appeal allowed D’s conviction was quashed

Lord Coleridge CJ

  • ‘The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, was passed for the purpose of protecting women and girls against themselves’
  • ‘it is impossible to say that the Act, which is absolutely silent about aiding or abetting, or soliciting or inciting, can have intended that the girls for whose protection it was passed should be punishable under it for the offences committed upon themselves’


  • In Gnango it was held that this case does not state the general proposition that a victim can never be an accessory to a crime where he or she is the intended victim, it only applies where the offence is created by a statute intended to protect the victim