Legal Services

Theft Offences

It is important to obtain legal advice and representation prior to engaging in any interview process.

The crime of theft is defined in section 72(1) of the Crimes Act 1958 as follows:

“A person steals if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.”

Like most other criminal offences, there is both a physical element and a mental or fault element. In order to prove the crime of theft, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • The accused appropriated (i.e. took possession of) property, sections 71(1) and 73(4)
  • The property belonged to another, section 71(2).
  • The accused appropriated the property dishonestly, section 73(2), and
  • The accused intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

Sections 71 and 73 of the Crimes Act provides definitions of the various elements, as indicated.

For example, 73(2) further explains the element of dishonesty and provides that appropriation is not to be regarded as dishonest in circumstances where, for example, a person holds a belief in a legal claim of right or a belief that he would have the owner’s consent if he or she knew of the appropriation and the circumstances of that appropriation.

Similarly, legislation deems an intention to permanently deprive the owner of his or her property in particular circumstances, such as where an accused treats the property as his or her own, regardless of the owner’s rights, section 73(12).

At Lewenberg & Lewenberg, we have experienced solicitors who have acted for clients charged with theft in many and varied circumstances ranging from straightforward allegations of theft of goods through to very complex allegations of theft involving the reconstruction and analysis of accounting transactions.

If the police or other agencies wish to speak to you regarding an alleged theft, it is important to obtain legal advice and representation prior to engaging in any interview process.