R v Sadique (No 2) [2013] EWCA Crim 1150, [2014] Crim. L.R. 61

Key point

  • Mens rea of s46 Serious Crime Act 2007: the defendant must believe that his conduct will assist in the commission of one or more offences, but does not have believe that a precise offence will be committed


  • D’s business had supplied drug rings with chemical agents that were used to cut drugs
  • D was convicted of assisting the supply of class A and class B drug offences s46 of Serious Crime Act (SCA) 2007
  • In a prior case Sadique (No 1), the Court of Appeal held that under s46 SCA 2007 D must believe that a specific, identified offence will be committed and that each offence which his act is capable of assisting or encouraging must be charged as a separate count in the indictment
  • D appealed on the basis that he should be charged under s45 instead for separate offences of assisting the supply of class A drugs and assisting the supplying of class B drugs , the indictment under s46 was duplicitous (containing more than one offence) and uncertain

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Appeal dismissed – the indictment was not impermissible for duplicity

Lord Judge CJ

  • “the 2007 Act created three distinct offences. It is not open to the court to set one or other of them aside and the legislation must be interpreted to give effect to the creation by statute of the three offences.”: [30]
  • S46 is an independent offence that reflects the ‘practical reality’ that a defendant may believe that his conduct will assist the commission of a variety of offences by another without knowing or being able to identify the precise offence which will be committed: [31]
  • The ingredients of s46 SCA 2007 underline that an indictment charging s46 SCA 2007 by reference to one or more offences is permissible: [34]


  • Sadique (No 1) was roundly criticised by academics for effectively rendering s46 redundant and a duplicate of s45
  • Graham Virgo, commented in “Enough is Enough” Archbold Review, Issue 3, 12 April 2013: “Since each contemplated offence must now be charged as a separate count, the defendant can only be convicted if he or she believed that a specific offence would be committed; that is the same as the conditions for conviction under section 45. It follows that a defendant who contemplates a number of offences being committed but does not believe any specific crime would be committed, cannot be guilty of assisting or encouraging an offence. That is an unfortunate restriction on the ambit of liability and will cause problems in future.”
Inchoate Liability Cases
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