Theft act - Mens rea

S.2 & s.6

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Theft Act 1968 ­ Mens Rea
Section 2: Dishonesty
The Theft Act 1968 does not define the word dishonesty but in s.2(1) it lists three
situations that would not be considered dishonest
1. where the person believes that he has in law the right to deprive the other of it
2. where the person believes he would have the other persons consent -Borrowing
without asking
3. where the person believes that the owner of the property cannot be traced by
taking reasonable steps ­ Finding a £5, would be impossible to find rightful owner
All Three situations depend on the defendant's belief, whether it is correct or even
reasonable. If it is a genuine belief he will not be guilty of theft ­
1. Robinson ­ D was owed £5, during a struggle he picked up £5 dropped by V, he
was not charged with theft as he had a belief that he had the right to take the
If none of the situation fit the scenario, a two stage test is used to determine whether
there was any dishonesty; The Ghosh Test
R v Ghosh ­ defendant claimed fees for an operation he did not carry but was owed the
same amount in consultation fees ­ a two stage test was applied on objective and
subjective element
1. Objective test ­ Was the action dishonest according to the standards of a
"reasonable and honest man"?
2. Subjective test ­ did the defendant realise that what he was doing was
dishonest by those standards
If the answer to both these questions Is yes then he will be deemed dishonest, if answer
to either of them is no then he will not be guilty
Section 6: Intention of permanently depriving the other
This is the final element that has to be proved to be found guilty of theft
S.6(1) of the Theft Act 1968 states that even if the defendant had the intention to treat
the thing as his own without the intention of permanently depriving the other of it he will
be regarded as depriving the other of it.
R v Velumyl ­ Shows that taking someone's money with the honest intention of replacing
it with an equivalent sum can still amount to appropriating the money ­ Defendant took

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DPP v Lavender ­ Defendant took doors from a council flat to his girlfriends council flat,
was still in possession of the council but Defendant treated the item as his own, held
Borrowing/Lending property
In normal circumstances there is no intention to permanently deprive when an Item is
borrowed ­ R v Lloyd ­ (dude that copied the films and returned it back in original state)
­ the court said that if "the goodness, the virtue and the practical value had gone out of…read more


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