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Abstract from

The Identic Turn: The Culpability of Accessories and Perpetrators

Penny Crofts is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Technology, Sydney.

This article analyses the legal concept of wickedness through the 16th century case of Saunders and its representations by treatise writers. Saunders had tried to kill his wife by giving her a poisoned apple. Not knowing it was poisoned, his wife gave the apple to their daughter, who died. Saunders was charged with murder but argued that he did not have malice against his daughter, and therefore should not be found guilty. Treatise writers drew upon different sources to construct a persuasive model of legal wickedness including evil intention, harm- ful consequences, manifest criminality, and the religious imagery of the apple. Saunders is a reminder of alternative models of legal wickedness that have been neglected.

(2015) 33(1) Law in Context p37

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