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Burglary Notes

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A more recent version of these Burglary notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Criminal Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Revision: Criminal

Section 9 Theft Act 1968: Distinguishing 9(1)(a) from 9(1)(b)


For 9(1)(a) burglary - the D must enter as a trespasser - with the intention to steal, inflict GBH or unlawfully damage property (ulterior offence)- burglary is committed at the point of entry o

Doesn't matter if the D goes on to commit the ulterior offence - as long as the D intended to commit the offence at the point of entry


For 9(1)(b) - the D must have entered as a trespasser and once inside, actually steal or attempt to steal or inflict or attempt to inflict GBH - burglary is committed at the point of commission or attempted commission of the ulterior offence


Sentencing is the same for both - matter of evidence which one the prosecution decides to charge

Section 9(1)(a) AR:

1. That the D "enters"

2. "a building or part of a building"

3. "as a trespasser" MR:

4. Knowing or being reckless as to his entry as a trespasser; and

5. At the time of entry D intended to (i) steal (ii) to inflict GBH on any person or (iii) to damage unlawfully the building or anything therein (see 9(2)) When is the offence committed?


Complete upon entry - provided it is accompanied with intention to commit ulterior offence

? Enters

1 Revision: Criminal



Old Common Law rule - entry was satisfied when any part of a person's body entered a building (or part of a building) - Davies (1923) - no matter how small - any part of a body, however small


R v Collins - Jury must be satisfied that entry was 'effective and substantial' ... narrow definition - whole body had to be within the body


R v Brown - CA declined to follow 'limited' meaning from Collins - D was seen with body partially inside a front shop display - appeal dismissed - CA said that 'substantial' was not helpful - entry need only be 'effective'


R v Ryan - D became stuck by his neck in the window - so was not effective OR substantial
- court said that it was irrelevant whether or not the accused was capable of stealing - so didn't need to be 'effective' or 'substantial' - jury must decide whether there had been an entry


Smith & Hogan think that leaving 'entry' up to the jury is insufficient - best course would be to accept the continued existence of the common law rule - i.e. that entry of any part of the body, however small, will suffice

? Building or part of building

a) Building


Theft Act only contains a partial defence of this element - 9(4) - building for the purposes of 9(1) and 9(2) includes an inhabited vehicle or vessel - whether the person is living there at present or not


Stevens v Gourley - building must be of 'a structure of considerable size and intended to be permanent or at least endure for a considerable time'


B and S v Leathley - a freezer container used to store frozen food which was detatched from its chassis and was resting on railway sleepers - it had been there for 2 years and was fitted with electricity - 25x7 ft - held to be a building o

Norfolk Constabulary v Seekings & Gould - 2 similar containers - still on their wheeled chassis - positioned at the rear of a supermarket - for temporary storage - were not buildings despite having electricity- not sufficient permanence - only way burglary could be committed was if they were inhabited (9(4)) 2

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