Handling Stolen Goods Flashcards
Handling Stolen Goods Offence
s22 Theft Act 1968
(1) A person handles stolen goods if (otherwise than in the course of the stealing) knowing or believing them to be stolen goods he dishonestly…
- Receives the goods, or
- Dishonestly undertakes or assists in their retention, removal, disposal or realisation by or for the benefit of another person, or
- Arranges to do so.
- Summarily– 6 months and/ or fine.
- Indictment– 14 years
What are ‘goods’?
s34(2)(b) Theft Act 1968
…includes money and every other description of property except land, and includes things severed from the land by stealing.
What are ‘notionally stolen goods’?
Stolen goods which include any gain or return from the disposal of the original stolen items, such as money or other items which have been received in exchange (s 24(2) of the Theft Act 1968).
What are ‘stolen goods’?
s24A Theft Act 1968
(8) Money which is dishonestly withdrawn from an account to which a wrongful credit has been made, but only to the extent that the money derives from the credit.
When do stolen goods cease to be stolen?
s24(3) Theft Act 1968
When have been restored to the person from whom they were stolen or to other lawful possession or custody, or after that person and any other person claiming through him have otherwise ceased as regards those goods to have any right to restitution in respect of the theft.
What is the required Mens Rea?
The defendant must KNOW or BELIEVE the goods to be stolen. Suspicion is not enough.
Turning a blind eye to the facts ‘can be capable, depending on the circumstances, of providing evidence going to prove knowledge or belief’.
What is the required Actus Reus?
- Receiving/ arranging to receive stolen goods (or things in action e.g checks), in which case the defendant acts for his/her own benefit; and
- Assisting/ acting for the benefit of another person (e.g misleading police), in which case that assistance to another, or benefit to another must be proved.
Power to Search for Stolen Goods
s26 Theft Act 1968
(1) …reasonable cause to believe that any person has in his custody or possession or on his premises any stolen goods, the justice may grant a warrant to search for and seize…
(3) …may enter and search the premises accordingly, and may seize any goods he believes to be stolen goods.
After the original theft there is often a whole chain of events, and each of the handlers in the process commits the offence of handing stolen goods.
This only occurs in what circumstance?
If each has guilty knowledge (mens rea) that the goods were originally acquired by theft.
The chain will only be broken when a person receiving the goods is unaware of their origins.
What does s27 of the Theft Act 1968 allow for?
The admissibility of previous misconduct at any stage of the proceedings.
Allows for evidence to be admitted proving that goods in the course of transmission have been stolen.
“Otherwise than in the course of stealing” meaning…
- The handling must be at a time after the act of theft has been completed.
- Someone who has actively been involved int he theft cannot handle the property.
“Knowing or believing goods to be stolen”…
- Mere suspicion is not enough, must be knowing or believing.
- They can be reckless as to whether they were stolen, e.g. if the price someone is paying for an item, is so ridiculously low and for cash, the person should have known it was stolen.
“Receives, or arranges to receive”…
You do not need to have physical possession of the goods.
“Retention/ Disposal/ Realisatiion”…
Retention: keeping possession of the goods.
Disposing: getting rid of the stolen goods.
Realisation: converting the stolen goods into a different form (e.g swapping for legitimate items).
Question: Nick buys a digital camera from a car boot sale. He plugs it into his computer and sees that there are some holiday photos on it. He looks closely and recognises a work colleague from the photos.
Nick is aware that his colleague reported his bag stolen from his car a few weeks before, including a digital camera being stolen. Nick believes this is the stolen camera but deletes the photos anyway and starts using it.
Has Nick committed the offence of handling stolen goods?
- Yes, he has.
- Nick realises that he has bought his work colleagues stolen camera.
- He commits the offence of handling when he decides to keep it for himself, demonstrated by deleting the colleagues holiday photos.