Overview of theft

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 22-06-11 19:51

Actus Reus

Appropriating property belonging to another 

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Treating property as your own; this can be done by assuming any right of the owner such as consuming, selling or breaking it

R v Morris: assuming any right of the owner can be classed as appropriation

Lawrence v MPC: even if there is consent there can still be an appropriation

R v Hinks: appropriation can be present if the property was a gift if it was gained in a dishonest way

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Almost anything can be stolen. S4 of the Theft Act 1968 as: Money and all other property, real (land and anything permanently attatched to it) or personal, including things in action and other intangible property.

Things in action = something you have a right to e.g. concert tickets give you the right to attend the concert

Land cannot be stolen unless: part of the land is severed (like stealing a tree), tenants take a fixture or a trustee doesnt pass property on in the way they are legally obligeted to.Wild animals and plants cannot be stolen unless someone takes them under their possession.

Kelly v Lindsay: a corpse is not property unless it has some artistic, medical or educational value

R v Welsh: Bodily fluid can be property. 

Oxford v Moss: information isnt property - looked at exam but didn't take it
R v Akbar: stole and made copies of exam scripts: stole actual paper so guilty 

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Belonging to another

Whoever has possession and control.

R v turner: took car from garage without paying for the work: garage had a lien against the car and had temporary possession and control

Williams v Phillips: bin men took things from bins: they werent abandoned their ownership had just been transferred

S5 (3)- money recieved under obligation
Davidge v Burnett: given money to pay bills but didnt = theft as not used for designated use

R v Hall: paid deposit for holiday that was lost. Not guilty as they wernt under obligation to do it in a set way

S5 (4) recieved by mistake-
Att. Gen (No1 of 1983)- police woman overpaid- knew but didnt return. Guilty- wasnt here
R v Gilks: got given winnings from the wrong horse didnt say anything- guilty as dishonest 

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Mens Rea

Dishonestly and Intent to permanently deprive

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Very subjective and isnt actually defined by the act

However it does state that you wont be guilty if:

S2 (1)(a)- believed he had a lawful right- e.g. debt

S2 (1)(b)- believed there would be consent for the appropriation R V HOLDEN

S2 (1)(c)- The owner cannot be traced using reasonable steps SMALL

- ordinary reasonable people thought it to be dishonest
- D was aware it was dishonest by ordinary reasonable standards 

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Intent to permanently deprive

Borrowing is not theft. Borrowing can turn into theft if it is later decided to keep them. E.G. library books or DVDs from blockbusters

DPP v Lavander: swapped doors from 2 council flats - guilty as he treated then as his own.

R v Velumyl: took £1000 and intended to return it later- ruled he would not be able to put back the same notes therefore THAT property was permanently deprived

Lloyd: took movies from theatre copied them and returned them- as they didnt loose any virtue and goodness and was not in a changed state so it wasnt theft

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