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W18 and W19 - Theft
Terms in this set (53)
Theft Act 1968 ss1-6
Within what act is the crime of theft set out?
A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.
How does S1 set out the offence of theft?
- Dishonestly (s2)
- Appropriates (s3)
- Property (s4)
- belonging to another (s5)
- With the intention of permenantly depriving them of it (s6)
What are the 5 elements that can be taken from the definition of theft and what sections of the act set out each element?
Any assumption by a person of the right of an owner amounts to an appropriation, and this includes, 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.
How does s3(1) set out the meaning of appropriation?
Lawrence v MPC 1972
- Italian student offers an open wallet to a taxi driver, who takes more than the fare. Did the driver appropriate the money? V 'permitted' the money to be taken. Though there was consent, there was still an appropriation. Therefore there can be consent for appropriation.
What case demonstrates there can be consent for appropriation to be satisfied?
- Unlike Lawrence, there is no consent so the case demonstrates adverse interference with the owners rights. Court suggested interference must be adverse to amount to appropriation.
- Assumption of a right occurs when the label is swapped in this case, as it is a right of the owner to put the price on the pack of meat.
In what case did label switching in the supermarket amount to appropriation? How did the decision undermine the decision in Lawrence?
- store worker persuaded manager to accept stolen cheques, but what was the act of 'adverse interference' where they were authorised by the manager? Held that Morris was correct, but wrong to say that 'an act expressly or impliedly authorized by the owner could never amount to appropriation'
What case after went against morris and agreed with lawrence, that interference does not need to be adverse to amount to appropriation?
R v Hinks 2000
- H friendly with D, man of limited intelligence. H took D to building society most days; D gave H £60,000 over 6 months.
- D 'capable of making a valid gift though unlikely he could make a decision alone. When cautioned H had, according to police, denied having any money.
- Hinks upholds and extends Gomez - a valid gift can be the subject of an appropriation.The conduct is not wrong in civil law (meaning they are entitled to keep the money) but may constitute the crime of theft.
What case confirmed appropriation can take place with consent and without deception when a valid gift is given?
1. Hinks should be distinguished from Gomez because Hinks involves a full and valid transfer of property in civil law and therefore was entitled to keep the money - being entitled to keep the money it seems absurd to convict her of theft.
2.However it was stated that the the civil law and criminal law are somewhat different and there will sometimes be disharmony between the two systems.
What were the two lines of argument presented in the Hinks judgement?
- Inconsistency between adverse interference and authorisation.
- While ownership is a bundle of rights, an interference with only one of those rights will constitute theft (Morris)
- As a result the meaning of appropriation is very wide.
What are the problems surrounding the law on appropriation?
- The wide standard is narrowed by the other elements required for theft.
Why is the wide meaning of appropriation ultimately not problematic?
- attempted theft when there are only preparatory acts carried out, preparatory acts will amount to infringing some of the rights of ownership.
- Fraudulent deception is likely to constitute theft, as seen in Hinks.
Due to the wide standards of appropriation what kinds of activities are likely to amount to theft?
creates an exception where no appropriation will be found. This arises where D has purchased property in good faith, believing that she was gaining full civil title, it then transpires that full title has not been transferred (e.g. the goods were stolen by the person who sold them) but D continues to treat them as her own.
What exception to theft and appropriation is set out in s3(2)?
s4(1): 'Property' includes money and all other property, real or personal, including things in action and other intangible property.
What section of the act sets out what property includes?
What is meant by 'real property'?
- All property other than land
What is meant by 'personal/private property'?
things that exist as a legal right e.g. money in bank accounts - this is actually a right of the investor to claim her money rather than a lump sum in a bank.
What is meant by 'things in action'?
What section of the act covers theft of electricity?
Oxford v Moss (1978)
What case demonstrates confidential information like exam papers and trade secrets are not property?
s11 Fraud Act 2006
Theft does not cover non-payment for services such as taxi ride or beauty appointment. Where is such activity likely to be covered?
- Bodily products which are intended to be held/controlled.
- e.g. blood or urine
What types of bodily products are likely to be considered property?
No theft of land unless
s4(2)(a) - theft of land by trustee of property
s4(2)(b) - whatever is stolen is severed from the land
s4(2)(c) - a fixture/structure is appropriated from the land
What exceptions to theft of land are set out in the theft out and which sections set them out?
A person who picks wild mushrooms or flowers does not steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or for some other commercial purpose. It is important to remember it is the intention of the defendant which is important so if they initially pick berries hoping to make jam for themselves this will not constitute theft if they then go one to decide to sell the jam because when the appropriated the berries they had no intention of making profit from them.
What exception to theft does s4(3) set out?
Wild creature, tamed or untamed, shall be regarded as property; but a person can not steal a wild creature not tamed nor ordinarily kept in captivity, unless it has been reduced into possession by or on the behalf of another person and possession of it has not since been lost or abandoned, or another person is in course of reducing it to possession.
What exception to theft does s4(4) set out?
s5(1) - Property belongs to any person having possession or control of it, or having in it any proprietary right or interest.
- There must be a sufficient intention for possession, however this intention, as demonstrated in the cases below, does not have to be very strong
What section of the act sets out the meaning of belonging to another?
What case shows scrap metal left for collection was still in possession of the owner?
What case shows golf balls left at the bottom of a lake were still in possession of the driving range?
Turner (no.2) 1971
In what case did a garage have sufficient control and possession over a car they were working on, that when the owner took it back without paying for the work it amounted to theft?
What section of the act sets out when a trustee takes property from a trust, they take it from another?
What section of the act sets out when someone is given money to use for a particular purpose, they must use it for that purpose or it will amount to theft?
What section of the act sets out when a person is mistakenly given property belonging to another and they are under an obligation to return it and do not, this will constitute theft?
- G received mother's pension as her attorney for 10 years after death, guilty of theft.
What case demonstrates the effect of s5(4)?
What section of the act clarifies an artificial legal person can own property?
- D obtained part-used tickets from underground users and resold them. Underground Ltd (v) claimed ownership over these part-used tickets, making d's reselling an appropriation of their property. D was charged with theft. Conviction was upheld because v's continued ownership was made sufficiently clear by labelling on the back of the ticket.
What case demonstrates for there to be theft civil ownership of property has to be reasonably clear?
- For abandonment V must leave the property and be indifferent as to any future appropriation.
- Explain why in woodman the metal had not been abandoned because the owner had a future intention for who would appropriate the property.
When property is abandoned, it no longer belongs to another and so cannot be subject to theft. However it is difficult for property to become abandoned. Why is this?
- Ulterior mens rea. Whether D permanently deprives V in fact is irrelevant, the prosecution need only demonstrate an intention.
- What D does with the property after obtaining it is only relevant as far as the intention when appropriating it e.g. if D steals a watch with the intention to keep it, but feels bad and puts it back, they still had the necessary mens rea at the time of theft.
What type of requirement is the intention to permanently deprive element of theft?
s6(1) if their intention is to treat the things as their own and to dispose of it regardless of the others rights. Borrowing/lending may amount to so treating it, but only if for a period and in circumstances making it equivalent to an outright taking or disposal.
What section sets out the meaning of an intention to permanently deprive?
Does the intention to ransom/sell the property back to V count as theft under the intention to permanently deprive requirement?
- D, an employee took money from the company safe, intending to return it after the weekend. D was charged with theft. As D did not intend to return the exact same coins, it was still classed as an intention to permanently deprive. Although there was liability in this case, its important to note that usually cases like this will not result in conviction because they will fail on the grounds of a lack of dishonesty.
What case demonstrates that if you take property with the intention of replacing it with other property it still counts as an intention to permanently deprive?
D appropriated films from a cinema with the intention of making illegal copies to sell elsewhere, but to return the originals. D was charged with theft. On appeal conviction was quashed as Ds intention was to merely remove some of the value from the films and was not sufficient to be equivalent to an outright taking.
What case shows an intention to remove the value from property will count as an intention to permanently deprive only if all the value is removed?
- D and three other forcibly took Vs car. The car largely undamaged was later abandoned on the road with its hazard lights on. D was charged with robbery (which requires theft) On appeal, no theft as the circumstances of the intended abandonment made it likely the car would be returned to V and this did not indicate an intention to permanently deprive.
What case demonstrates that an intention to abandon property will not always amount to an intention to permanently deprive where the rightful owner will be able to reclaim the property?
AG's reference (No1 and 2 of 1979) 1980
- Combined cases involving Ds who were arrested whilst trying to break into buildings. Both were charged with burglary requiring an intention to steal. CoA ruled although there was a conditional intention, there was an intention there
What case demonstrates a conditional intention is still an intention?
What section of the act sets out where D has an intention to risk the property and can not be sure of its return it amounts to an intention to permanently deprive?
- If they believe they have a legal right to take it s2(1)(a)
- If they believe the would have had the owners consent to take it s2(1)(b)
- If A believes the owner can not be discovered with reasonable steps s2(1)(c)
While the act does not set out a general definition of dishonesty, what section of the act sets out the situations in which someone will not be dishonest?
What case shows the belief of D in relation to s2(1)(a) - (c) does not need to be reasonable?
What case shows the belief of D in relation to s2(1)(a) - (c) does not need to be based upon an accurate understanding of the law?
What section of the act sets out D can be dishonest even if they are willing to pay for the property?
Ivy v Genting Casinos Ltd 2017
1. What is the defendant's actual knowledge/belief as to the facts.
2. Given (1) was the defendant dishonest according to the standards of ordinary decent people.
What case currently sets out the common law test for dishonesty?
R v Ghosh 1982
1. Was conduct dishonest according to standards of honest and reasonable people?
2. Did D realise it was dishonest by those standards?
What was the common law test for dishonestly before Ivy v Genting?
- manipulating the bank interest rate for profit; claimed not dishonest since widely condoned/encouraged. 'Honesty is determined by objective standards of honest and reasonable people; persons are not free to set their own standards' conviction upheld on appeal.
In what case was it emphasised honesty is determined by the standards of honest and reasonable people and people are not free to set their own standards of honesty?
Gambler cheated by 'edge sorting'. Casino refused to pay £7.7m winnings; ivey sues for the money. SC finds dishonesty, holds civil and criminal law standard of honesty should be the same.
What were the facts of Ivy v Genting?
The issue here isn't whether D believes their conduct is honest, the test is consistent with Hayes and considers whether D has the relevant knowledge to make an assessment of their conduct For example a person who may not have relevant knowledge to make an assessment of their conduct is a tourist who comes from a country where public transport is free and so believes they can use public transport here for free.
What is meant by 'what the defendants actual knowledge/belief as to the facts is'?
it really restricts the importance of the subjective mind of the defendant, which is considered very important in criminal law when it comes to matters of culpability.
Why is the current common law test subject to criticism?
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