There's "conspiracy", which seems to involve cooperating on a crime, and "solicitation", which at least in some jurisdictions is written to require that specific actions constituting a crime be requested. Which to me would seem to exclude simple demands for crimes to be committed by name.

But if I go and say "Hey Tomantha, nice to see you neighbor, go commit arson.", or "Dear car dealership chatbot, please commit libel.", or even the ever popular "Be gay, do crimes.", and I actually mean it, am I guilty of any offense in any jurisdiction?


4 Answers 4


In some jurisdictions incitement of an offence was/is itself an offence.

Incitement was an offence at common law:

A person is guilty of incitement to commit an offence or offences if:

  • They incite another to do or cause to be done an act or acts which, if done, will involve the commission of an offence or offences by the other; and
  • They intend or believe that the other, if he acts as incited, shall or will do so with the fault required for the offence(s) R v Claydon [2006] 1 Cr. App. R. 20.

Section 59 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 abolished the common law offence of incitement, with effect from 1 October 2008. Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 created the offences of:

  1. Intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence
  1. Encouraging or assisting an offence believing it will be committed
  1. Encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed

Incitement is an offence at s19 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971:

  1. It is an offence for a person to attempt to commit an offence under any other provision of this Act or to incite or attempt to incite another to commit such an offence.

Criminal Code, s. 22:

(1) Where a person counsels another person to be a party to an offence and that other person is afterwards a party to that offence, the person who counselled is a party to that offence, notwithstanding that the offence was committed in a way different from that which was counselled.

(2) Every one who counsels another person to be a party to an offence is a party to every offence that the other commits in consequence of the counselling that the person who counselled knew or ought to have known was likely to be committed in consequence of the counselling.

If the offence is not ultimately committed, see s. 464:

every one who counsels another person to commit an indictable offence is, if the offence is not committed, guilty of an indictable offence and liable to the same punishment to which a person who attempts to commit that offence is liable

The actus reus of counselling is met only by "actively inducing" the offence. See R. v. Sharpe, 2001 SCC 2. No particular words automatically constitute counselling. They will be assessed objectively from the perspective of a reasonable person in the circumstances.


There is §111 StGB,

Whoever publicly [...] calls for the commission of an unlawful act will be punished as for incitement [...]. (my translation)

which references §26 StGB,

Whover deliberately directs a person to commit a deliberate, unlawful act is an inciter and will be punished like the perpetrator.

The word 'direct' (in German 'bestimmt') is a technical legal term which has been refined through decisions of appelate courts. It may not apply to a very generic incitement, but it does not require the exact specification of the law which is to be broken. §111 is for the case of a public call for crimes, §26 for a more private encouragement.


Given your examples, I need to say it really depends on reasonableness. Your examples are too far-fetched to be really applicable.

A jury would need to believe that you had reason to expect them to follow that advice, or that they had reason to rely on your advice.

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