Theft & Stealing SA
Theft and stealing (larceny), is the act of the unauthorised removal of another’s property, with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it. Larceny differs from robbery in the fact that it is generally non-violent in nature.
Under Section 49 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935, if a person deals with property dishonestly, without the owners consent and intending to deprive the owner of their property, or make a serious encroachment on the proprietary rights of the owner, then they are guilty of theft.
Under this law, encroachment on proprietary rights means that the property is dealt with in a way that creates a substantial risk that the property will not be returned to the owner, or that the value of the property will be greatly diminished when the owner does get it back. Also, where property is treated as the defendants own property to dispose of, disregarding the actual property owner’s rights.
For a basic offence, a person found guilty of this offence is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.
For an aggravated offence, a person found guilty of this offence is liable to imprisonment for 15 years.
A person is also liable to a charge of theft where property has lawfully come into his or her possession. An example includes where a person has bought an item, knowing that the price of the item is much less than usual, then later discovering that the item has been stolen from another person. It may be reasonable to assume that the person receiving the item had knowledge that the item may have been stolen.
The misuse of powers by an agent or trustee (or similar power) to gain from the sale of property, or interest earned from the misappropriation of property, may also be considered theft.
Stealing has been a part of human nature since time immemorial. The main concept of the crime of stealing is the taking in possession of the property belonging to another without the latter’s consent without the intention to return the same.