The knowledge element for accessories to strict liability and limited cognition offences: Revisiting Tabe v The Queen
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Parallelism, as it applies to accessorial liability, mandates that the accessory's fault element be the same as that of the principal. By the second half of the 20th century, parallelism had been rejected and replaced by the requirement that the Crown must prove that the accessory had knowledge of the "essential matters" that renders the principal's conduct unlawful, even in circumstances where the principal's knowledge of the essential matters does not have to be proven. The High Court's decision of Tabe, however, has breathed life back into the parallelism principle by applying it in the context of Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld). The effect of the decision is that an accessory to the possession of a dangerous drug can be convicted without proof that he/she knew that the principal possessed a thing that was or was likely to be a dangerous drug. This article analyses the demise of parallelism, and its subsequent reinvigoration and argues that it should have been left in the pages of legal history.
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