PRINCIPAL IN THE FIRST-DEGREE
A principal in the first degree is the actual perpetrator of the offence whether he committed it with his own hands or with the hands of an innocent agent like an infant or a lunatic. Such offender need not be present when the offence was consummated.
PRINCIPAL IN THE SECOND-DEGREE Crime
A principal in the second degree is a person who is near enough to aid and abet or give assistance to the person actually committing the crime.He need not be an eye-witness or ear-witness but he must be actually or constructively present as to be able to assist those committing the offence example, to help to carry away the stolen property or corpus delicit or to keep watch and alert the perpetrators of the approach of police. Mere presence of course will not make a principal in the second degree if he took no part in assisting the offenders in the commission of the offence.
ACCESSORY BEFORE THE FACT
An accessory before the fact is the person who counsels or procures or instigates the commission of a crime. He need not be present at the time of the offence, it is enough if he was the instigator.An instigator will be liable if the execution of the offence he counseled or procured differed in respect of time, place or manner. But an accessory before the fact will not be liable if an entirely different offence is committed from that which he counseled or instigated.
If an accessory before the fact repents and before the offence is committed countermands his orders in very clear terms but the principal nevertheless commits the offence then the instigator will not be liable.
SUPPLY OF TOOLS OR MATERIAL FOR THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENCE.
Where a person supply tools, material or ammunitions used for the commission of crime, such is seen in law as aiding and abetting crime, such a supplier is liable to conviction. In the case of R.V. BAINBRIDGE, the appellant helped some thieves to purchase oxygen-cutting equipment when he knew that the equipment would be used by the thieves to break into a building and steal therefrom. The court held that he was an accessory before the fact of the offence of office breaking and was liable for conviction.