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Theft & Receiving Key Facts

Maximum Penalty

  • 10 years imprisonment for basic offence in South Australia.
  • 15 years imprisonment for aggrevated offence in South Australia

Possible Defences

  • Claim of Right (Conduct)
  • Claim of Right (Property)
  • Finders Exemption
  • Honest Acquisition

What Is Theft & Receiving?

In South Australia, you will be guilty of the offence of theft under section 134 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 if you deal with property dishonestly and without the consent of the owners consent, and with theintention to permanently deprive the owner of the property or to seriously encroachment on their proprietary interests.

Property means real (housing) or personal property and includes money, intangible property and electricity.

It is also possible to commit theft even if the property lawfully came into your possession (e.g property given to you by your employer that is not returned on the termination of your employment); or if you misuse the powers that are given in you to deal with another persons property (e.g. if you are the power of attorney of your elderly parents and you steal money from their bank account).

It is also an offence to receive stolen property from another person.

Conduct will be dishonest if you act dishonestly according to the standards of ordinary people and you know that the conduct is dishonest according to those standards. Conduct will not be dishonest if you honestly but mistakenly believed that you had a right to deal with the property the way you did or if you found the property and believed that the owner could not be found.

Encroachment on proprietary rights means:

  • that the property is dealt with in a way that creates a substantial risk that it will not be returned; or
  • that the value of the property will be greatly diminished when the owner gets it back; or
  • where property is treated as the accused own to dispose of, disregarding the actual property owner’s rights.

Our criminal lawyers at Caldicott Lawyers are experts in all criminal matters, especially theft. 

What Is The Maximum Penalty For Theft & Receiving?

For a basic offence in South Australia the maximum penalty for theft is 10 years imprisonment.

For an aggrevated offence in South Australia (such as stealing from a child under 12 years or a person over 60 years) the maximum penalty is extended to 15 years imprisonment.

What Are The Possible Defences For Theft & Receiving?

Claim of Right (Conduct)

Your conduct is not dishonest, if you have acted on an honest but mistaken belief that you had a right to act in that way.

Claim of Right (Property)

An assertion of a right to property is not dishonest if you honestly believed that you had such a right.

Finders Exemption

You will not be acting dishonestly if you find and deal with property in the belief that the owner cannot be found by taking reasonable steps and there is no obligation to return or give up the property.

Honest Acquisition

If you acquired property in the honest (but mistaken) belief that you acquired good title, you cannot be guilty of theft as a consequence of any subsequent dealing with the property.

What The Prosecution Must Prove

To be convicted of theft the prosecution must prove that:

  1. you dealt with property;
  2. the property was owned by another;
  3. you did not have the owners consent to deal with the property;
  4. you intended to deprive or seriously encroach on proprietry rights;
  5. you dealt with the property dishonestly.

Come and see the professional team at Caldicott Lawyers for assistance in your theft and recieving matter.

Case Studies For Similar Offences

We have defended thousands of criminal cases over many decades and constantly achieve outstanding results for our clients. Please view our results by clicking the cases below:

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