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Burglary is an offence under s9 of the Theft Act 1968. Burglary can be committed in two ways:
o Under s9(1)(a) a person is guilty of burglary if he enters any building or part of a building
as a trespasser with intent to steal, inflict grievous bodily harm, or do criminal damage
to the building or anything in it.
o Under s9(1)(b) a person is guilty of burglary if having entered a building or part of a
building as a trespasser he steals or attempts to steal anything, or attempts to inflict
grievous bodily harm on any person in the building.
COLLINS (1972) Collins, having had quite a lot to drink, decide he wanted to have sexual
intercourse. He saw an open window and climbed a ladder to look in. He saw there was a naked
girl asleep in bed. He then went down the ladder, took of all his clothes except for his socks and
climbed back up the ladder to the girl's bedroom. As he was on the window sill outside the room,
the girl woke up. Thinking Collins was her boyfriend, the girl helped him into the room where they
Collins was convicted of burglary under s9(1)(a), which at that time included `with intent to rape',
but his conviction was quashed on appeal because (a) the girl had invited him into the room, and
(b) she had consented to sex. In this case, the Court of Appeal said the jury had to be satisfied that
the defendant had made "an effective and substantial entry" (into the room). However, "effective and
substantial entry" was modified to "effective entry" in Brown (1985).
BROWN (1985) was standing on the ground outside but leaning in through a shop window
rummaging through goods. His feet and lower part of his body were outside the shop, but the top
part of his body and his arms were inside the shop. The Court of Appeal upheld the conviction for
burglary, stating that "effective entry" was sufficient for burglary. However, `effective' entry does
not appear to be the criterion/standard used in Ryan (1996).
RYAN (1996) was trapped when trying to get through a window into a house at 2.30 am. His head
and right arm were in the house but the rest of his body was outside. The fire brigade had to be
called to release him. This could hardly be called an `effective entry'. However, the Court of Appeal
upheld his conviction for burglary, saying that there as evidence on which the jury could find that the
defendant had `entered' the building.
Part of a building
The phrase `part of a building' is used to cover situations in which the defendant may have
permission to be in one part of the building (and therefore is not a trespasser in that part) but does
not have permission to be in another part.
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WALKINGTON (1979) went into a counter area in a shop and opened a till. This area was clearly
marked by a threesided counter. Walkington's conviction for burglary under s9(1)(a) was upheld as
he had entered part of a building (the counter area) as a trespasser with the intention of stealing. The
critical point is that the counter area was not an area where customers were permitted to go. It was
for the use of staff. So Walkington was a trespasser.…read more