Accessory before the fact
is one who is aware that another
intends to commit an offence, but is himself absent when the offence is
Accessory after the fact
is one who screens a felon, aids him in eluding justice, or helps
him in any way to profit by his crime. Thus, the receiver of stolen
goods, knowing or even suspecting them to be stolen, is an accessory
ex post facto.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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