Choice point 12
You Were Present and Willing to Assist...
Police Station • 2 days later
If you are present at the scene of a crime, know what’s going on and show a willingness to assist, you may be charged as a principal offender. How does Kass feel about being charged with Armed Robbery?
“Nella didn't need the knife. We could've done that roll without it. I tried to stop him using a knife but I had to watch his back y'know? It all happened so fast...”
Kassem admits that he was present at the scene of the crime, that he “had his mates back” and that he realised that they were committing an armed robbery.
Even though he feels like he played no active role in the commission of the crime, on the basis of his own admissions, Kassem is guilty of the crime of Armed Robbery as a principal offender.
The law says that if you are at the scene of a crime, you are aware of what is going on, and you are willing to assist, you are guilty as a principal offender, and criminally liable for the offence as a whole, including the acts of your co-accused.
In an armed robbery situation involving multiple offenders, it doesn't matter who is holding the knife, they are equally charged with the offence of Armed Robbery.
This is a very difficult situation for Kass. Remember that while Kass and Nella were standing in the laneway just before they committed the crime, Nella pulled out the knife and there was a brief argument. Kassem told him to put it away - it all happened very quickly - yet the knife was still out and Kassem still jumped in.
Kassem's knowledge of the knife is critical - it makes him criminally liable and responsible for the both armed robbery and, later on, the stabbing.