Law A2 - Theft

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  • Theft
    • Actus Reus: Appropriation of property belonging to another.
      • Appropriation: assuming rights of an owner e.g. possession, alter, sell and destroy.
        • D need only assume 1 right of owner - not all (R v Morris)
        • Appropriation doesn't require any physical contact (Corcoran v Anderton-handbag)
        • Later assumption of O's rights = appropriation
        • Appropriation with consent = appropriation (R v Lawrence/ Gomez)
        • Gift by owner - R v Hinks (only theft where D is also dishonest)
      • Property: money, all personal property, land, things in action - debts, other intangible property - e.g. gas
        • R v Kelly & Lindsay - body parts held by Royal College of Surgeons are propety
        • Property which can't be stolen: mushrooms + flowers (growing on wild land, unless picked for sale/reward), foliage and wild animals not kept in captivity and untamed.
          • Confidential info can't be stolen - Oxford v Moss
      • BTA - Possession/ control or proprietary right or interest in it
        • D may steal own property from person in possession - R v Turner
        • Possession need not be lawful - R v Smith
        • Co-ownership - each co owner has proprietary right/interest, therefore each co owner can steal from eachother (R v Bonner)
        • Lost/ abandoned property: Lost - remains property of O + can be stolen from O. Abandoned property doesn't belong to anyone and cant be stolen.
          • Courts reluctant to find that property has been abandoned (Ricketts v Basildon Magistrates' Court - bags outside charity shop are not abandoned)
        • Where D recueves property from another, D is under obligation to deal with property in a particular way (R v Hall)
          • Charitable donations: D under obligation to transfer procees of notes/coins (R v Wain)
        • Mistake: obligation to restore property
          • Attorney General's Reference - mistakenly overpaid salary by employer + failure to repay = theft
    • Mens rea:at the time of appropriation, D must be dishonest and must intend to permanently deprive the other of the property.
      • Theft Act 1968 s2
      • Dishonest exceptions: D genuinely believes he has a legal right to deprive the other of it or D believes O would consent to the appropriation or that D believes that the other can't be located.
        • Subjective assesment of D's belief; Must be honest, need not be reasonble (R v Small)
      • WhereD appropiates property, D may be dishones evem if he offers to pay for property.
      • R v Ghosh - Was D's conduct in appropriating property dishonest according to standards of a reasonable person + did he know this.
        • Question of fact for jury to decide (R v Feely)
      • IPD: Where D intends to treat property as own to dispose of regardless of O's rights (R v Marshall)
        • Borrowing/ lending by D which amounts to outright taking or disposal - R v Lloyd - borrwed + copied film before retuning it - NO IPD
  • Mistake: obligation to restore property
    • Attorney General's Reference - mistakenly overpaid salary by employer + failure to repay = theft
  • Mens rea:at the time of appropriation, D must be dishonest and must intend to permanently deprive the other of the property.
    • Theft Act 1968 s2
    • Dishonest exceptions: D genuinely believes he has a legal right to deprive the other of it or D believes O would consent to the appropriation or that D believes that the other can't be located.
      • Subjective assesment of D's belief; Must be honest, need not be reasonble (R v Small)
    • WhereD appropiates property, D may be dishones evem if he offers to pay for property.
    • R v Ghosh - Was D's conduct in appropriating property dishonest according to standards of a reasonable person + did he know this.
      • Question of fact for jury to decide (R v Feely)
    • IPD: Where D intends to treat property as own to dispose of regardless of O's rights (R v Marshall)
      • Borrowing/ lending by D which amounts to outright taking or disposal - R v Lloyd - borrwed + copied film before retuning it - NO IPD

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