ABETTOR (from "to abet," O. Fr. abeter, a and beter, to bait, urge dogs upon any one; this word is probably of Scandinavian origin, meaning to cause to bite), a law term implying one who instigates, encourages or assists another to commit an offence. An abettor differs from an accessory (q.v.) in that he must be present at the commission of the crime; all abettors (with certain exceptions) are principals, and, in the absence of specific statutory provision to the contrary, are punishable to the same extent as the actual perpetrator of the offence. A person may in certain cases be convicted as an abettor in the commission of an offence in which he or she could not be a principal, e.g. a woman or boy under fourteen years of age in aiding rape, or a solvent person in aiding and abetting a bankrupt to commit offences against the bankruptcy laws.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)