Theft

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s.1 Theft Act 1986
A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.
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s.2 - Dishonesty
The Theft Act does not define what ‘dishonestly’ is; however the Court of Appeal has given a working definition of the word in R V Ghosh 1982
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R v Ghosh
Ghosh was a surgeon who falsely claimed that money was due to him for an operation that, in fact, someone else had performed on the National Health. Ghosh was prosecuted for deception.
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Judgement in R v Ghosh
“Dishonesty” is a question to be left to the jury and is: a) where the defendant’s conduct would be regarded as dishonest by the standards of the ordinary person on the jury; (b) the defendant realized that his conduct would be regarded as dishonest
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state 2 circumstances which will not prevent an action from being regarded as dishonest
1) Where the defendant is prepared to pay for the property, 2) Where the defendant takes the property for someone else’s benefit or for no-one’s benefit at all, and derives no benefit him\herself
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Section 2(1)(a) Theft Act 1986
“If he (the accused) appropriates the property in the belief that he has in law the right to deprive the other of it, on behalf of himself or of a third party.”
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R V Robinson 1977
The defendant was owed money (£7) by a woman. He went to ask her for it and a fight developed. During the fight a £5 note dropped out of the woman’s husband's pocket. The defendant picked it up and kept it
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R V Turner 1971
Turner took his car into X’s garage for repairs. After the repairs had been done, Turner returned to the garage in the evening and repossessed his car without telling the garage either at the time or later.
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Section 2(1)(b) Theft Act 1986
“if he (the accused) appropriates the property in the belief that he would have the other’s consent if the other knew of the appropriation and the circumstances of it”.
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Lawrence V Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1972
A taxi driver in London took an Italian tourist who spoke little English to a destination where the tourist offered D £1 but D took a further £6 from the tourist’s wallet. The fare should have been 52½p.
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Section 2(1)(c) Theft Act 1986
“if he (the accused) appropriates the property in the belief that the person to whom the property belongs cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps”.
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R V Small 1988
D saw a car for two weeks parked at an angle on a corner of a road, with the doors unlocked and keys in the ignition. One tyre was flat, as was the battery. The petrol tank was empty and the wipers did not work. D thought it was abandoned. Took it.
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Judgement in R v Small 1988
Consider: 1) Whether according to the standards of the ordinary reasonable and honest person what D did was dishonest; and if so, whether D must have realized what he was doing was dishonest by the standards of ordinary person.
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‘Dishonesty’ is a subjective concept not an objective one.
Lord Lane CJ: “If we are right that dishonesty is something in the mind of the accused, then if the mind of the accused is honest it cannot be deemed dishonest merely because members of the jury would have regarded it as dishonest"
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For court to find dishonesty:
'Dishonest’ it is not enough to be satisfied that a reasonable person would not have done what the accused did; the court must be satisfied that the accused knew that what he/she was doing was dishonest.
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Section 3(1) Theft Act 1986
Any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner amounts to an appropriation, including, where he has come by the property (innocently or not) without stealing it, any later assumption of a right to it by keeping or dealing with it as owner would
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Anderton V Wish 1980
D changed the price tags of an item in a supermarket and bought that item at a lower price. Held: In changing the price tags the defendant had assumed the rights of an owner and the operation was therefore an appropriation.
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R V Morris 1984
This case reached the House of Lords and it upheld the decision in Anderton V Wish. At the same time as dealing with R V Morris the House of Lords dealt with another appeal on similar but on different facts.
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R v Gomez 1993
an assistant at an electrical shop was asked by B to supply goods (£16,000) in exchange for two building society cheques that D knew were stolen. D did not tell the manager the cheques were stolen. : There was an appropriation.
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R v Gomez 1993 (2)
There was an appropriation even though he acted with the authority of the shop manager. Lawrence was the appropriate authority on the issue of appropriation. The consent of the owner was irrelevant in deciding whether an appropriation occurred.
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Reasoning in Lawrence V Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1972
‘Appropriation’ occurs wherever any rights of the owner are adversely affected and this can happen even with the apparent consent of the owner, if that consent is obtained by fraud/misrepresentation, as in Lawrence’s Case.
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Gomez Case has also clearly expanded the law of theft.
Covers activities that before this case were not classed as theft. This now leads to the conclusion that if X takes some goods off a supermarket shelf intending not to pay for them then he is a thief from this moment since he has appropriated them.
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R V Hinks 2000
D a carer of a 53-year-old man of low intelligence persuaded him to make gifts to her totalling £60,000 (almost all his savings).
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Corcoran V Anderton 1980
Corcoran and another attacked a woman intending to take her bag (robbery). Corcoran grabbed the bag and tried to pull it away from the woman. He succeeded, but in the struggle the bag fell to the ground. Corcoran ran off without the bag.
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Section 4(1) Theft Act 1986
“”Property” includes money and all other property, real or personal, including things in action and other intangible property.”
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Real property
is land, things attached to the land, and various rights over the land.
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Personal property
all other types of property that are not ‘real’ property. Personal property is also known in law as “chattels”. Apart from leases (known as “chattels real”), all forms of personal property fall into two classes - namely – ‘choses in possession’ and
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Choses in possession
all types of tangible (touchable) personal property such as cars, clothing, jewellery, mobiles - even the handout (paper) that you are reading.
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Choses in action
types of intangible (untouchable) property - i.e. they are forms of property that do not physically exist such as debts, copyright, trademarks, shares in companies.
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Section 4 (2) Theft Act 1986
States that a person cannot steal land except where: a) s/he has been authorised to dispose of the land but does it dishonestly/improperly b) when not in possession of the land s/he takes and/or severs something c) tenant dishonestly severs
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Section 4 (3) Theft Act 1986
will not be guilty of theft if s/he picks any mushrooms or other fungi, fruit, flowers or foliage which is growing wild
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Section 4 (4) Theft Act 1986
That a person will not be guilty of theft if s/he takes wild animals which are: a) “not tamed nor ordinarily kept in captivity”; or b) under the immediate control of another.
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Oxford V Moss 1979
Moss was a student who took and photocopied an examination paper (the examination had not yet been sat). He returned the paper but was later discovered. He was prosecuted for the theft of the information contained within the paper.
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Parts of a human body could be 'property'
R V Kelly
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R V Kelly 1998
Kelly was a sculptor who had taken various parts of human bodies and used them to form moulds for his sculptures. He was prosecuted for theft of the body parts. He argued as his defence that human body parts could not be regarded as ‘property’.
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Judgement in R V Kelly 1998
Court of Appeal ruled that although the human body, whether alive or dead, could not normally be regarded as ‘property’; where a corpse, or part of it, had been subjected to some form of skill such as embalming or dissection then it could be
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Section 5(1) Theft Act 1986
“Property shall be regarded as belonging to any person having possession or control of it, or having in it any proprietary right or interest.”
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‘Ownership’ is not necessary for property to “belong to another”
anyone having possession or control of the property is also brought within the concept of property “belonging” to them.
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R V Turner 1971
When Turner took his car back from the garage without its knowledge or permission, the garage had “possession” of the car and therefore, for the purposes of the crime of theft, it “belonged” to the garage during this period of possession.
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R V Woodman 1974
The owners of a site cleared the ground and then put a fence all round it to keep trespassers out. Woodman went on to the site and found some scrap metal that had not been removed. Woodman took the scrap metal and was later prosecuted for theft.
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Section 5 (2) Theft Act 1986
Deals with property which belongs to a trust and states that the property of that trust belongs not just to the trustees (legal owners of the trust property) but also to the beneficiaries (those who should eventually inherit the property).
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Section 5 (3) Theft Act 1986
“Where a person receives property from or on account of another, and is under an obligation to the other to retain and deal with that property or its proceeds in a particular way, the property or proceeds shall be regarded as BTA.
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Davidge V Bunnett 1984
Bunnett shared a flat with several other people. The others gave her cheques for their share of the common gas bill on the understanding that she would cash them all with her employer and then pay the gas bill from this money.
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Attorney-General's Reference (No.1 of 1983)
D, a policewoman, received an overpayment of her salary, which the MPD paid by direct transfer to her bank account.
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Section 6 (1) Theft Act 1986
- if his intention is to treat the thing as his own to dispose of regardless of the other’s rights. - only if, the borrowing or lending is for a period and in circumstances making it equivalent to an outright taking or disposal
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DPP V Lavender 1994
D took two doors from a council house and used them to replace damaged doors in his girlfriend's house, owned by the same council.
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R V Lloyd 1985
D a projectionist at a cinema secretly borrowed films and lent them to friends who made illegal copies of them. The films were returned after a few hours undamaged to the cinema in time for the performance.
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Section 6 (2) Theft Act 1986
Covers those situations where a person who borrows property from another then uses that property as security for a loan without the other’s consent. Since the “borrower” may not be able to repay the loan then the security may be lost.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

The Theft Act does not define what ‘dishonestly’ is; however the Court of Appeal has given a working definition of the word in R V Ghosh 1982

Back

s.2 - Dishonesty

Card 3

Front

Ghosh was a surgeon who falsely claimed that money was due to him for an operation that, in fact, someone else had performed on the National Health. Ghosh was prosecuted for deception.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

“Dishonesty” is a question to be left to the jury and is: a) where the defendant’s conduct would be regarded as dishonest by the standards of the ordinary person on the jury; (b) the defendant realized that his conduct would be regarded as dishonest

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

1) Where the defendant is prepared to pay for the property, 2) Where the defendant takes the property for someone else’s benefit or for no-one’s benefit at all, and derives no benefit him\herself

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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