Theft act - actus reus

S.3, s.4, s.5

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  • Created on: 16-06-12 17:14
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Theft Act 1968 ­ Actus Reus
Theft is a stand-alone offence and is defined in s.1 Theft act 1968,
"a person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another
with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it"
s.2 and s.6 are definition sections explaining s.1, they themselves do not create any
Both Actus Reus and Mens Rea must be present for a defendant to be found guilty
Section 1 General definition of theft
Section 2 "Dishonestly" Mens Rea
Section 3 "Appropriates" Actus Reus
Section 4 "Property" Actus Reus
Section 5 "Belonging to another" Actus Reus
Section 6 "intention of permanently Mens Rea
depriving the other of it"
Section 3: Appropriation
Appropriation is defined under s.3 (1):
"Any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner amounts to an appropriation"
The rights of the owner include selling the property, destroying, possessing, consuming,
using, lending or hiring it out. Therefore for appropriation to take place, the thief must take
over one of the owner's right
Pitham and Hehl ­ Defendant sold furniture belonging to another, regardless if it didn't leave
the house, defendant assumed rights of the owner (selling it)
Rights ­ Morris ­ Defendant swapped price tags on two items, charged for appropriating
one of the rights
Consent ­ R v Lawrence ­ Clarified that appropriation can take place even with owner's
consent, Italian student overcharged.
This point was brought up again in Gomez
Gomez ­ defendant persuaded manager to sell goods for two cheques (stolen), decided
that there had to be "adverse interference" for there to be appropriation, managers
consent and authorisation to the transaction meant there was no appropriation
Consent without deception ­ Hinks ­ Defendant took advantage of victims low IQ and
obtained £60,000 over a few months, held to be guilty because even though she had
consent, the question asked is: "did the defendant appropriate the item dishonestly?" ­
Defendant did just that
Section 4: Property
Section 4(1) of the Theft Act 1968 states that property "includes money and all other
property, real or personal, including things in action and other tangible property"
Money ­ This includes all coins and banknotes of any currency

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Real property ­ Land and Buildings, under s.…read more

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Property obtained by a mistake
Section 5(4) of the Theft Act 1968 states that if a person gains from another's mistake, it is
his legal obligation to return it or he would be deemed to have appropriated it under s.5(4)
Attorney General's Reference (No.…read more


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