R v Whitchurch – Case Summary

R v Whitchurch (Thomas William) and others

Crown Court

Citations: (1890) LR 24 QBD 420.


A woman who believed that she was pregnant conspired with two men to make her miscarry. The woman was not in fact pregnant. The woman was charged with conspiracy to commit certain abortion offences. She pointed out that since she was not pregnant, it was impossible for her to commit the offences she conspired to commit. As such, she argued that she could not be convicted of conspiracy either.

  1. Can a person be convicted of conspiracy when it was not possible for them to commit the relevant offence?

The Court upheld the conviction.

This Case is Authority For…

It is possible to conspire to commit an offence that is impossible to commit, due to facts unknown to the defendant.