In any event, whether the accused went as far as the full offence for committing the act of attempt is a question of fact. If the accused has passed the preparatory phase, the offence is committed and it is not a defence that he subsequently withdrew from the commission of the completed offence. Conspiracy has been defined in the United States as an agreement by two or more people to commit a crime or obtain a lawful purpose through illegal acts.   A conspiracy did not have to be planned in secret to meet the definition of a crime. Others argue that the Anglo-American concept of conspiracy is too elastic to avoid injustice. At least from the early nineteenth century, England defined conspiracy as a combination, “either to do an illegal act or a legitimate act by illegal means.” However, the illegal act or the illegal means itself must not be punishable. While this remains the law in many U.S. jurisdictions, some states have followed the model penal code by limiting the crime of conspiracy to combinations of people for the purpose of committing acts that are themselves crimes. No continental country allows a conviction for conspiracy if the purpose of the agreement itself is legal. Shelley and Sam meet at a bar to discuss their lack of funding. Shelley says she and her friend Steffy work in a supermarket. Sam asks Shelley if she wants to help him rob the supermarket when Steffy is working. Shelley agrees.
They plan the robbery. Shelley and Sam agree that Shelley will drive the car on the agreed date and time. Shelley informs Sam that Steffy is extremely gentle and anxious and that he is willing to hand over cash from the till if Sam uses a fake handgun. Shelley and Sam likely have the element of criminal intent required for a conspiracy. Shelley and Sam intend to agree on a collaboration, because they both need each other to successfully steal supermarkets. In addition, Shelley and Sam intend to make the flight a success because they both want the money that the flight will produce. So if there is no open action in their jurisdiction, Shelley and Sam have likely completed the crime of conspiracy and can be prosecuted for this offense whether the theft takes place or not. There is some debate about whether or not an accused can be convicted of conspiracy if he did not know that what he had conspired to do was illegal.