Case study: Theft Offences
In this case study, our client was charged with 3 separate theft offences. Read on for a summary of the facts, how the case was resolved and the outcome.
Date & location of offences
Melbourne Magistrates' Court, June 2023
Facts and charges
In the context of the breakdown and end of a long-term relationship, our client was alleged to have taken property belonging to his former partner and presented various items to secure a loan through Cash Converters. For reasons which were unclear, the police took 4 years to bring the case to Court.
The items alleged to have been taken without permission involved jewellery, headphones, snowboarding equipment, and an iPhone. Prior to the police becoming involved our client had organised the return of the jewellery, although the other items were not recovered.
His former partner made a complaint to the police and our client was subsequently charged with 3 offences Theft for the items alleged to have been taken.
For more detailed information about the offence of theft refer to our article. In summary, the prosecution must produce evidence that establishes the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
a person has dishonestly appropriated property.
the property appropriated belongs to another person.
the property was appropriated intentionally and to permanently deprive the other person of it.
the person appropriating the property did so without lawful excuse.
that the jewellery, the most expensive item alleged to have been taken was in fact returned
Section 73 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) provides a further explanation as to the element of dishonesty.
In the context of an intimate domestic relationship one of the issues concerning several items of the property alleged to have been stolen was who it belonged to.
As the matter could not resolve at the first mention it proceeded to a contest mention.
The case resolves at Contest Mention
The case was poised to be set down for a contested hearing, however, our client provided instructions to seek a sentence indication. An application for a sentence indication was made and the following factors were argued as relevant to the Magistrate's sentencing discretion:
- the age of the offences;
- the absence of any offending since the incident (some 4 years)
- our client's good character as evidenced by the absence of criminal history and his good employment history
The sentence indication accepted by our client was a without conviction adjourned undertaking to be of good behaviour for 6 months and to pay $500 to the court fund.
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