Theft- Statutory Offence : CRIMES ACT 1958 -S 74

Elements Prosecution Must Prove

1- Accused dishonestly appropriates property
2 -
This property belongs to another.
Accused intends to permanently deprive the other of it.

What is Dishonesty?

Whether an act is dishonest must be determined by the "standards of ordinary decent people". Prosecution must prove accused had knowledge, belief or intent to make act dishonest.

What is Appropriation?

Appropriation is essentially assumption of the rights of the owner of property. This includes dealing with property in the manner that only an owner of the property would have the right to. A reasonable belief that there was consent of the owner may prevent the appropriation from being dishonest.

What is meant by belonging to another?

Essentially, this means that the prosecution doesn't have to prove who the property belongs to, merely that it does not belong to the accused.

What is intention to permanently deprive?

There can be no theft without an intention to permanently deprive the owner of their property. However, s73(12) of the Crimes Act extends it to borrowing.  "A person appropriating property belonging to another without meaning the other permanently to lose the thing itself is nevertheless to be regarded as having the intention of permanently depriving the other of it if his intention is to treat the thing as his own to dispose of regardless of the other's rights; and a borrowing or lending of it may amount to so treating it if, but only if, the borrowing or lending is for a period and in circumstances making it equivalent to an outright taking or disposal."


Maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment. Chances of imprisonment depends largely on quantum involved, the degree of deception and dishonesty involved and existence of mitigating and aggravating factors, and whether the matter proceeds on a summary or indictable basis.


Related Offences

  1. Blackmail
  2. False accounting
  3. Obtaining Financial Advantage by Deception


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