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Theft Notes

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Criminal Law : Theft
?????S1(1) Theft Act 1968
?????Need all elements existing simultaneously. Intro
? Offence of theft found in s1(1) Theft Act 1968.
? AR = appropriation of property belonging to another.
? MR = dishonestly and with an intention to permanently deprive.

Appropriation

? ?? ? Any assumption (s3(1)) of any one right (Morris).
?????S3(1): 'any assumption . . . of the rights of an owner'.
?????R v Morris: Assumption of any one right [re switching price label].
?????Eg, offering for sale (Pitham and Hehl).
??? ?Includes damaging/destroying.
?????Later appropriation (s3(1))
?????Need all elements of theft to exist simultaneously.
?????S3(1)---allows for later appropriation, when missing MR at first appropriation.
?????[[note alternative, Hale continuing appropriation
?????Consent of owner irrelevant (Gomez):
?????Morris, obiter: no appropriation if owner consents.
?????But current law: D can appropriate even with consent of owner, appropriation is a neutral act (R v Gomez). [re, shop manager had consented to sale of electrical goods using stolen cheques
?????Theft of gifts (Hinks): consequence of Gomez ? can be theft of lifetime gifts (Hinks ? appropriation, with consent, can count, re Hinks taking money from 53-yr-old man).
?????Innocent purchasers: s3(2)
?????S3(2): no theft where D purchasers for value in good faith, then later discovers seller had no title to the property, but decides to keep it.
?????R v Adams: purchaser stolen goods in good faith; later discovered they were stolen; appeal quashed [[though if he then tried to sell them, implying he had legal title, would be guilty of fraud]].

Property (s4)??What cannot be stolen: Cannot steal confidential information (Oxford v Moss, re a stolen exam paper)---isn't covered by 'intangible property' in s4(1)). But s4(1) incudes other 'intangible' property---eg copyright, debt, patents, rights under a trust. Cannot steal electricity (Low v Blease, burglar made a phone call, didn't steal electricity). Land (s4(2): 1

?o S4(1) property can be 'real'. o S4(2): cannot steal land/things forming part of land and severed from it, except:
? NOTE this is the general general rule -- cannot steal land, EXCEPT . . . o S4(2)(a): trustee/personal representative. o S4(2)(b): when not in possession of land, and appropriates by severing or after has been severed. o S4(2)(c): under a tenancy S4(3): re mushrooms/flowers/fruit/foliage--> not theft unless for sale/commercial purpose. S4(4): re wild creatures? can steal if reduced into possession.

Belonging to another

?????S5(1): includes 'possession', 'control' and 'proprietary right or interest'.
?????Can steal one's own property (R v Turner (No 2))/s5(1)? own car, garage had possession & control of it.
?????Abandoned property o Just because original owner has no more use for it, doesn't mean abandoned (Williams v Phillips, re goods in dustbin, remains owner until passes to council ? courts don't like to consider property abandoned. o Original owner doesn't abandon just because stops looking (Smith & Hogan, eg lost engagement ring). o Hibbert v McKiernan: lost golf balls not abandoned just because stopped looking. o [[might depend on value/state of the property etc]].
? Possession or control o Turner: can steal own property. o Woodman: can have control of property without knowing you've got it. Re a factory, closed off to trespassers ? in 'control' of site, scrap metal belonged to the company even though didn't know was there. o Parker v British Airways Board: gold bracelet in BA lounge; needed to demonstrate intention to exercise control over lost items; semi-public space. o Parker: Talks about a spectrum---at one extreme, where free access (eg a park), unlikely to have control, would need to take stringent, express steps to intention to control; CF, other extreme, eg a secure bank vault, or a private house, or a secure bank vault, would have clear implied intention to exercise control over things found. In between these extremes: forecourts of petrol stations; unfenced front gardens; public parts of shops, etc. BA lounge was in middle band.

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