Criminal Law.  An accessory after the fact is one who, with knowledge of the other’s guilt, renders assistance to a felon in the effort to hinder his detection, arrest, trial or punishment.  [Example: After A and B rob a bank, they meet C, who agrees to hide them in her basement until the police leave the area.  Although C was not involved in the commission of the crime, she is now an accessory after the fact.]

Reference Desk

State v. Nicholson, 221 S.C. 399 (1952):

“An accessory after the fact is one who, knowing a felony to have been committed receives, relieves, comforts, or assists the felon.  Three conditions must unite to render one an accessory after the fact: (1) The felony must be complete. (2) The accessory must have knowledge that the principal committed the felony. (3) The accessory must harbor or assist the principal felon.  To render one an accessory after the fact, the aid or assistance must have been rendered with the intention, and for the purpose of enabling the felon to escape detection, arrest, etc., and statutes defining such accessories sometimes contain express provisions to such effect.  An accessory after the fact is, by the common law, one, who, knowing that a felony has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts, or assists the felon, or in any manner aids him to escape arrest or punishment.  Another requisite to the conviction of a person as accessory after the fact is that he know of the felony and that the person aided is the guilty party and intends to shield him from the law.”

State v. Earnhardt, 307 N.C. 62 (1982):

“In order to prove a person was an accessory after the fact[,] three essential elements must be shown: (1) a felony was committed; (2) the accused knew that the person he received, relieved or assisted was the person who committed the felony; and (3) the accused rendered assistance to the felon personally.”

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