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Wilcox v. Jeffery

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    Bloomberg Law

    Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant was convicted of aiding and abetting a foreigner’s crime of taking employment during his stay in Britain – to wit, playing saxophone at a music hall – contrary to a government ordinance respecting aliens.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Defendant aided and abetted a visiting musician in contravening a government ordinance against aliens taking up employment when he encouraged musicians unlawfulness by purchasing a ticket to his performance and using the performance as copy for his for-profit arts publication.

    Facts. As proprietor of a jazz magazine, the Defendant met the visiting musician at airport to report on his arrival and subsequently purchased a ticket for and attended a concert given by the musician, which he then reviewed in his magazine. The visiting musician’s performance was in contravention of a government ordinance forbidding him, as an alien, to take up employment while he was in the country.

    Issue. Did the Defendant aid and abet a visiting musician in violating a government law prohibiting aliens from entering into employment contracts.

    Held. Yes. Judgment affirmed.
    Insomuch as the Defendant purchased a ticket for a visiting musician’s illegal jazz performance and subsequently wrote an article on the performance in a magazine that he publishes for profit, the Defendant’s actions aided and abetted the musician in violation of a British prohibition on aliens taking employment within the country. The Defendant knew that musician was contravening British law by performing in public and his purchase of a ticket to see the engagement and write about it can be treated as encouragement in the unlawful enterprise.


    Discussion. This case illustrates the concept of actus reus. Literally, the act committed by a defendant that forms the basis of his culpable conduct.


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