Difference Between Conspiracy and Complicity

Conspiracy vs Complicity
 

The difference between conspiracy and complicity is in the amount of involvement of a person in a crime. Of course, both terms, conspiracy and complicity, are connected to illegal and unlawful actions. Complicity is that somebody is aware of a crime that is happening or going to happen but he/she fails to report it to the relevant authority. In this case, the particular person cannot be considered as an innocent bystander but he/she also becomes a part of the crime. Conspiracy, on the other hand, is an unlawful agreement between two or more people to commit a treacherous act. In this conspiracy stage, only the planning takes place. However, both are unlawful and against the law. Let us look at the terms and the difference between conspiracy and complicity in more detail.

What is Complicity?

Complicity is a situation where a person assists actively to a crime, or the person gets to know about it but does not report it to the relevant authorities. This person is called as the complicit. He/she is legally recognized as an offender. The complicit may witness a crime or he/she may know that an unlawful action is going to happen, but the complicit does not care to report to the police or any authority. Therefore, legally also the complicit is recognized as a criminal. However, the law sometimes may not completely recognize a complicit as an offender, in cases such as the particular person’s degree of involvement may vary. For example, the complicit may only be a conspirator and if the crime is not fully committed also he/she may be guileless. Complicity may also encompass accomplice liability and, in most cases, the complicit is considered to be an offender.

Difference Between Conspiracy and Complicity

Egypt military junta complicity in Gaza siege cartoon

What is Conspiracy?

Conspiracy is the action of plotting against the law, usually by two or more people. This is the stage of planning of a crime. Conspiracy is against the law, and usually it is done secretly and only known among the members of the plan. The person who conspires is known as the conspirator. The conspirator is also a wrong-doer in the law, depending on his/her involvement in the crime planning. In a conspiracy, the group of involved people comes into a secret agreement in order to achieve some illicit or unlawful objective. Conspiracies can be made not only to accomplish unlawful actions but also to fulfill lawful actions in illegal ways. There could also be gaining of unfair advantages and people may be misled as results of conspiracies. Conspiracies may pass on without actually committing the crime but, in legal terms, this is considered to be an offence.

Conspiracy vs Complicity

The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis

What is the difference between Conspiracy and Complicity?

• Definitions of Conspiracy and Complicity:

• Complicity is an instance in which somebody becomes aware of an illegal action, but he/she does not make any attempt to report it to the relevant authorities.

• Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people for an evil, treacherous, and unlawful action.

• Involvement:

• Complicit is considered to be aware of the illegal action but does not do anything to stop it.

• Conspirator actively engages in planning the crime but he/she may not actively engage in the crime itself.

• Situational Difference:

• Complicity is directly related to the crime itself.

• Conspiracy is related with planning the crime. The crime may or may not happen.

 

Images Courtesy: Egypt military junta complicity in Gaza siege and The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis via Wikicommons (Public Domain)