S1(1) TA 1968: "a person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention to permanently deprive."

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S1(1) TA 1968: "a person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention to permanently deprive."

Actus Reus: (3 parts) 

Appropriation - S3 - "assuming the rights of the owner"

  • acting as though the property belongs to you (e.g. taking it, using, selling, damaging or destroying it.) 

Morris - Held: "you only have to assume one of the rights of the owner for appropriation to occur."

Gomez - current law on appropriation

Held: "even an honest shopper appropriates property by taking an item off the shelf, it is only MR which separates them for a theif"

Hinks - D was a carer of an elderly man, persuaded him to give her gifts of up to £60,000.

confirmed Gomez and went further..

Held: "even a gift can amount to appropriation if it was received dishonestly.

Property - s4 - includes money and all other property including tangible and intangible things. 

R v Walsh - urine sample stolen, bodily fluids = property. 

Not property: 

Oxford v Moss - D stole exam paper, copied it and was caught returning it. Held: D only took knowledge of it, not guilty. 

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Not property: 

  • Electricity
  • s4(3) Wild flowers/fruit/mushrooms unless taken for commercial purposes
  • s4(4) Wild animals are not property

Belonging to another - s5

s5(1): "property belongs to someone who has possession/control or a right or interest in it."

R v Turner (No. 2) - D drove his car away from a garage without paying the repair bill. Held: Garage had an interest in the car, D guilty.

s5(3): holding money for a particular purpose - if D does anything unauthorised with the money = theft

Davidge v Bennett - D given money by flatmates to pay the gas bill, D buys presents instead. Held: D guilty, was under and obligation to pay gas bill. 

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Is there an obligation to deal with the money in a certain way?

Hall - D received money from clients for deposits on flights. D put money in general business accounts but never organised the trips. Held: not guilty, under no obligation to deal with the money in a certain way. 

Stealing from a charity:

Dyke v Munro - Held: "the money belongs to the charity not those who donated it."

s5(4): receiving property by a mistake - you must return it!

Attorney General's Reference - police officer was overpaid but did not return the money. Held: "D can be guilty in this situation as the money belongs to the company."

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Mens Rea:

Mens Rea: 

s2: Dishonesty

  • no def of dishonesty in TA

3 negative situations given where D = not dishonest

s2(1)(a) D believes he has a legal right to the property.

Robinson - D took £5 following a struggle with V who owed D's wife money. Held: not guilty, D believed he had a right to take it. 

s2(1)(b) D believes the owner would have consented to the taking.

Holden - D saw employee's taking scrap tyres at Kwik-Fit, D took some too. Held: not guilty as D believed the owner would have consented.

s2(1)(c) D took reasonable steps in tracing the owner.

Small - D found abandonded car left for over a week, D took it. C/A held: "conviction quashed if D honestly believed this was the case."

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Mens Rea:

If the 3 negatives do not apply, Ghosh does:

Ghosh = surgeon claiming fee's for procedures he did not do. 

C/A said D's conduct should be regarded as dishonest if:

  • it would be considered dishonest by ordinary, reasonable and honest people (objective test) and..
  • D realised that what he was doing was dishonest by those standards. (subjective test)

This is a question for the jury.

Intention to permanently deprive - s6 

  • specific intent, mere recklessness is not enough

Borrowing can be theft if it affects the 'value' of the item

Velumyl (1989) - D took over £1,000 from his employer's safe. C/A held: "D could not have intended to pay back the exact same notes and coins he had taken."

Lloyd (1985) - D was a projectionist at a cinema, over time he removed films, copied them and returned them. Held: "the goodness, virtue and practical value of the films had not been removed, D not guilty."

Conditional intent for theft = no intent

Easom - D rummaged through V's bag in cinema, saw nothing worth taking and pulled hand out. 

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