Entrapment is a tactic used by law enforcement agencies whereby a person is encouraged to commit a crime so that he can be prosecuted for it. It is a controversial strategy, because the state seems to be creating the very crime that it then condemns. Courts therefore tend to control entrapment: in the United States entrapment is a defence, while in England and Wales a successful claim of entrapment will lead to a prosecution being stayed for ‘abuse of process’. This chapter explores the theory of entrapment, taking as a starting point Andrew Ashworth's writings on the topic. It largely agrees with Ashworth, both in his reaction to real and hypothetical cases and in his theorization of entrapment. But it also examines some of the finer details of his account, and asks whether it can be defended against the criticisms raised by some commentators.
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