Declarations in Furtherance of a Common Unlawful Design
Declarations (and actions) in furtherance of an unlawful design may be admitted against all parties involved in a criminal enterprise, as long as the statement or act was caried out while the criminal enterprise was active, and in furtherance of the criminal enterprise. Essentially this means that if more than one individual is engaged in some criminal organization, anything they say or do in furtherance of that organization may be used against the other parties involved in the organization.
This exception is typically used when prosecting individuals for conspiracy offences or organized crime offences. It could also be used in prosecutions for drug trafficking enterprises, human trafficking, drug smuggling or car theft rings. Before the statement can be admitted against the defendant, the Crown must satisfy the court, on a balance of probabilities, that the accused was a part of the unlawful design (criminal enterprise).
Person A is in a gang and sells drugs for that gang. Person A arranges a meeting with person B, who sources large quantities of drugs, and attempts to purchase drugs for the gang to sell. Another member of the gang, person C, is later arrested for selling drugs for the gang. Person B is called as a witness in person C’s trial and asked about the conversation he had in the bar with person A. Person A’s statements are admissible against person C at trial because person A and person C were both involved in a criminal enterprise. Person A was actively trying to sell drugs to someone when the statement was made, therefore it was in furtherance of the criminal enterprise.