Theft Mindmap

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  • Theft
    • s.1(1) Theft Act 1968
      • A person who dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving them of it is guilty of theft
        • Dishonestly - s.2 - Mens Rea
        • Appropriates - s.3 - Actus Reus
        • Property - s.4 - Actus Reus
        • Belonging to another - s.5 - Actus Reus
        • With the intention of permanently depriving the other of it - s.6 - Mens Rea
    • s.4 Theft Act 1968
    • Appropriation
      • The Act does not provide a definition on what is meant by rights of an owner
        • However doing something with the property that only the owner has the right can do can amount to an appropriation
          • Selling
          • Keeping
          • Destroying
          • Damaging
          • Extinguishing
          • An assumption of any of the rights of the owner
            • s.3(1) Theft Act 1968
          • Appropriation by keeping or dealing
            • This includes, where D has come by the property (innocently) without stealing it, and any later assumption of rights by keeping or dealing with it as owner
              • The following can amount to appropriation
                • Offering the property for sale - Pitham and Hehl (1976)
                • Taking the property
                • Disposing of the property - Osman (1997)/Ngan (1997)
                • Pledging the property
                • Damage or destroy the property
                • FIxing the price of the property - Morris (1983)
      • An assumption of any of the rights of the owner
        • s.3(1) Theft Act 1968
      • The following can amount to appropriation
        • Offering the property for sale - Pitham and Hehl (1976)
        • Taking the property
        • Disposing of the property - Osman (1997)/Ngan (1997)
        • Pledging the property
        • Damage or destroy the property
        • FIxing the price of the property - Morris (1983)
      • Relevance of Consent or Authority
        • Even if the owner consents or authorises the appropriation, it may still be theft
          • R v Lawrence (1972)
        • Even if authorisation is by way of a gift, it may still be theft
          • R v Hinks (2001)
        • Exceptions are possible
          • In favour of bona fide purchasers
            • A person who purchases the property in good faith will not be guilty under s.3(2) Theft Act 1968
        • Appropriation as a continuing act
          • Appropriation continues for so long the thief can be sensibly regarded as being in the act of stealing
            • Atakpu & Abrahms (1993)
        • Between decisions of Lawrence and Gomez, there were a number of cases that considered the issue of whether all dealings with property were an appropriation
          • R v Meech (1974)
          • Eddy v Ninman (1981)
          • R v Skipp (1975)
          • Dobson v General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corp (1990)
      • Cheques and Bank Accounts
        • Appropriation takes place where the credit balance in the victims account is reduced and the equivalent  sum is transferred into the defendant's account
          • R v Williams (Roy) (2000)
          • R v Preddy (1996)
        • Signing company cheques for own benefit amounts to an appropriation
          • R v Kohn (1979)
    • Belonging to Another
      • Property shall be regarded as belonging to any person having possession or control of it or having in it any proprietary rights or interest
        • s.5 (1) Theft Act (1968)
      • It is essential that the defendant is charged with theft of property from the actual owner of the property
        • R v Dyke and Munro (2002)
      • Ownership and possession or control
        • It is impossible to steal property which is wholly owned by themselves
          • Powell v McRae (1977)
        • A defendant may in certain circumstances steal his own property
          • R v Turner (no2) (1971)
        • Property may be stolen from anyone having any proprietary right or interest in it, even if precarious or short lived
          • Just because a defendant owns property jointly with the victim he is still capable of stealing it from him
        • R v Dunbar (1994)
          • R v Huskinson (1988)
        • Property received for a particular purpose
          • If D acquires legal ownership but is under and obligation to deal with it in a certain way, property regarded as belonging to another for the purpose of s.5(3)
            • The obligation must be legal not moral
              • Obligation must be to deal with that property
                • R v Hall (1972)
                • Lewis v Lethbridge (1987)
      • Acquired by mistake
        • s.5(4) Theft Act 1968
          • R v Gilks (1972)
          • AGR (no.1) (1983)
      • Ownerless property - a person can't steal property that isn't owned by anyone at the time of appropriation
        • Lost is not equivalent to abandonment!
        • Property is only abandoned when the owner is indifferent to any future appropriation of the property by others
    • Dishonesty - Theft Act (1968) only provides a negative and partial definition
      • R v Feely (1973) - dishonesty is a question of fact
      • 3 situations defendants should not be deemed to be dishonest
        • If D appropriates property in the belief that he has in law the right to deprive others of it
          • s.2(1)(a)
          • R v Holdon (1991)
        • If D appropriates the property in belief that he would have the others consent if the other knew
          • s2(1)(b)
          • R v Small (1988)
        • If D appropriates the property in the belief that the person whom the property belongs cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps
          • s.2(1)(c)

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