Abetment And Its Meaning In Law.

ABETMENT : Section 20 of the Criminal Offences Act of Ghana. 

A person is said to have abetted another person If that person instigate (initiate), aids or otherwise, helps in any way for the other person to commit a crime. 

In a case of abetment, there must be three elements present: 

I.     A principal: the one who committed the offence. 

II.    An abettor: the person who instigated or aided in the commission of the offence.

III.   The intention of committing a crime. Here, it’s irrelevant whether the intended crime was actually committed or not. 

Abetment And Its Meaning In Law.

Example 1:

Salma makes up her mind to kill her husband, Ryan. Salma’s mother, Chloe, gets to know of her daughter’s intention and provides her with a poisonous concoction with which she can poison Ryan.

Chloe has abetted a crime of murder. 

Example 2:

Joshua sneaks into Sonia’s room for the purpose of stealing while Dickson keeps vigilance around in order to alert his friend when Sonia approaches. 

Dickson has also abetted a crime of stealing. 


1.   When the crime committed is punishable by death, the abettor will be given life imprisonment. 

2.   In all other situations, the abettor gets the same punishment as the principal. 

3.   Where a different crime is committed or takes effect against another person not intended by the abettor or it’s committed in a manner different from that which was intended by the abettor; punishment is as follows:

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If the crime committed is entirely different from the one the abettor intended to abet, the abettor is punished for the abetment of the crime he intended to abet. 

Abetment And Its Meaning In Law.
Abetment And Its Meaning In Law.

Example 3:

Using the foregoing 2 of Joshua and Dickson, if Joshua happens to commit rape against Sonia’s daughter in the room, Dickson would not be charged with abetment of rape. He would, however, be charged with abetment of stealing. This is so because stealing is the offence he intended to abet. 

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