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33 Law Context: A Socio-Legal J. 37 (2015)
The Identic Turn: The Culpability of Accessories and Perpetrators

handle is hein.journals/lwincntx33 and id is 49 raw text is: 

      The Identic Turn: The Culpability

         of Accessories and Perpetrators

                           Penny Crofts

    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.

                          I INTRODUCTION
      John Saunders had a wife whom he intended to kill, in order that he might
      marry another woman with whom he was in love, and he opened his design
      to ... Alexander Archer, and desired his assistance and advice in the execu-
      tion of it, who advised him to put an end to her life by poison. With this
      intent the said Archer bought the poison, viz. arsenick and roseacre, and
      delivered it to the said John Saunders to give it to his wife, and accordingly
      gave it to her, being sick, in a roasted apple, and she eat a small part of
      it, and gave the rest to the said Eleanor Saunders, an infant, about three
      years of age, who was the daughter of her and the said John Saunders her
      husband. And the said John Saunders seeing it, blamed his wife for it, and
      said that apples were not good for such infants; to which his wife replied that
      they were better for such infants than for herself- and the daughter eat the
      poisoned apple, and the said John Saunders, her father, saw her eat it, and
      did not offer to take it from her lest he should be suspected, and afterwards
      his wife recovered, and the daughter died of the said poison.
         And whether or not this was murder in John Saunders, the father, was
      somewhat doubted, for he had no intent to poison his daughter, nor had he
      any malice against her, but on the contrary he had a great affection for her,
      and he did not give her any poison, but his wife ignorantly gave it her ...
         But the most difficult point in this case, and upon which the justices
      conceived greater doubt than the offence of the principal, was, whether or
      no Archer should be adjudged accessory to the murder. 1
Saunders was found guilty of the murder of Eleanor and put to death.2
Archer provided assistance for the murder of Saunders' wife, but the

I    R v Saunders and Archer (1573) 2 Plowden 473; 75 ER 706, 707. Henceforth the
     case will be referred to as Saunders and Archer in the text.
2    For an analysis of Saunders' culpability see Penny Crofts, Wickedness and Crime:
     Laws of homicide and malice (Routledge, 2013).

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