IMAT 2015 Q18 [Underlying Principle]

Undercover police investigators sometimes commit ‘crimes’ in order to convince the ‘real criminals’ that they are on the same side as them. Some of these activities have victims, although in the main these are other criminals – rival gang members for example. In committing what are technically offences the officers are preventing many more serious crimes by helping to convict and imprison dangerous criminals who might otherwise remain at liberty. But that is not really the point. A breach of the law is a breach of the law, whoever commits it and for whatever reason. Preventing a crime does not make it right to commit another crime.

Which one of the following is the general principle underlying the above argument?

A. An act is criminal only if it is committed for criminal reasons.

B. Serious crime must be prevented by any reasonable means.

C. The police have a duty to protect law­abiding citizens from violence.

D. There is no such thing as a victimless crime.

E. The end does not justify the means.