This is the second chapter on sets of exceptions to the determinative role of physical and fault elements in Australian criminal law. Chapter 8 (Groups) detailed how someone can be criminally responsible when an offence’s conduct element is done by someone else. This chapter examines how someone can be criminally responsible even when some or even all of the offence’s physical elements never occur.
Arguably, people who try and fail to commit a crime are just as heinous as people who actually commit a crime or assist another to do so. Reflecting this view, Australian criminal law criminalises certain ways that crimes commence. A number of specific offence provisions are defined largely in terms of an intention to achieve a particular end, whether or not the intention succeeds. As well, three general offences – attempt, incitement and conspiracy – criminalise aspects of the lead-up to every offence.