A'ccessory. n.s. [accessorius, Lat. accessoire, Fr. This word, which had anciently a general signification, is now almost confined to forms of law.]
- Applied to persons.
A man that is guilty of a felonious offence, not principally, but by participation; as, by commandment, advice, or concealment. And a man may be accessory to the offence of another, after two sorts, by the common law, or by statute: and, by the common law, two ways also; that is, before or after the fact. Before the fact; as, when one commandeth or adviseth another to commit a felony, and is not present at the execution thereof; for his presence makes him also a principal: wherefore there cannot be an accessory before the fact in manslaughter; because manslaughter is sudden and not prepensed. Accessory after the fact, is, when one receiveth him, whom he knoweth to have committed felony. Accessory by statute, is he that abets, counsels, or hides any man committing, or having committed an offence made felony by statute. Cowel.
By the common law, the accessories cannot be proceeded against, till the principal has received his trial. Spens. State of Irel.
But pause, my soul! and study, ere thou fall
On accidental joys, th' essential.
Still before accessories do abide
A trial, must the principal be try'd. Donne.
Now were all transform'd
Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
To his bold riot. Milton's Paradise Lost, b. x. l. 520.
- Applied to things.
An accessory is said to be that which does accede unto some principal fact or thing in law; and, as such, generally speaking, follows the reason and nature of its principal. Ayliffe's Parergon Juris Canonici.