The actus Reus therefore is
Appropriating PROPERTY belonging to ANOTHER
s4 (1) of the Theft Act 1968
"Property includes: money and all other property, real or personal, including things in action and other intangible property"
Personal Property:- Property which is NOT land
Other INTANGIBLE PROPERTY:
Oxford v Moss (1979): Undergraduate Student acquired a copy of the exam paper. Questions on the exam were held not to be property for the purposes of the Theft Act 1968
The defintion of appropriation is set out in s3 (1) of the Theft Act 1968
"Any assumption by a person of the rights of any owner amounts to an appropriation...come by property, without stealing it"
The House of Lords also stated 'it must be shown that the act is something that only an owner has the right to do...'
R v Morris (1983):
The defendant appropriated items by switching the sticky labels on items in a shop indicating their price. In R v Gomez, Lord Keith stated that an appropriation may occur 'even though the owner has permitted or consented to the property being taken
However, the definition of appropriation was criticised by Lord Lowry in R v Gomez, stating that it should be given its ordinary and natural meaning
Belonging To Another
S5 (1) of the Theft Act 1968 states that 'property shall be regarded as 'belonging to another having posession or control of it, or having in it any proprietary right or interest'
Property or control of the property is sufficient.
R v Turner, the defendant left his car at mechanics, he promised to pay the debt, but later stole his car without paying for the debt. It was held that this was theft, as the mechanic had the right to keep the car until the debt was paid off.
MENS REA: Dishonestly
The Theft Act 1968 does not define 'dishonesty'. Although it gives three situations in which the defendant's behaviour is not dishonest.s2 (1) of the Theft Act 1968
a) If he believes that he has a law in, the right to deprive the other of it
b) If he believes that he would have the other's consent if the other knew of the appropriation
c) If he appropriates in the belief that the person to whom the property cannot be discovered Holden (1999)
Honestly believed he would have had the owner's consent if he sought it. However if s2 (1) fails, then this is the matter left to the jury.
Ghosh 2 Stage TEST
i. Was what was done dishonest according to the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people?
ii. Did the defendant realise that reasonable and honest people would regard what he did as dishonest?
Intention to PERMANENTLY DEPRIVE
s 6 (1) of the Theft Act 1968
"The defendant must intend to permanently deprive the victim of the item"
Borrowing or 'temporary deprivation'
"A person appropriating property to another without meaning the other permanently to lose the thing itself..."
R v Velumyl:- Temporary deprivation is not usually theft
Sometimes the law will find that you intended to permanently deprive
R v Lloyd: The defendant took film reels from the cinema to make pirate copies. He made the copies and then returned them. The pirate copies were made and sold. Held: No intention to permanently deprive. It was temporary deprivation.