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Stealing is the act of taking another’s property. The law defines the act of stealing and what can be stolen. This section of the website sets out what the West Australian law has to say on matters of and relating to stealing.
Pursuant to Section 378 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA) (the Code), a person who steals anything capable of being stolen commits a crime.
In this section, unless otherwise stated the relevant legislation is the Criminal Code 1913 (WA). This Code is found in Appendix A of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA).
This section sets out the various elements of the crime of Stealing, the definition of what is capable of being stolen, which courts hear charges of Stealing and the maximum penalties for the charge of Stealing. The maximum penalties as set out in the table vary according to such matters as the thing stolen, the value of the thing stolen or the circumstances of the stealing.
Pursuant to Section 371 of the Code, a person commits the crime of Stealing if they:
Taking or conversion for the purpose of Stealing can be fraudulent even if it was done without secrecy or attempted concealment.
If a person has converted property to their own use, it is not relevant whether the property was taken for the purpose of converting it or for some other purpose. It is also not relevant whether the person who converts it has a power of attorney in relation to the property or whether they are otherwise authorised to dispose of the property.
The crime of Stealing is not complete until the person who takes or converts the property to their own use actually moves or otherwise deals with the property. This means there must be a positive step by a person before they can be said to have taken or converted an item.
If a person:
and they take or convert that thing in such circumstances as would otherwise amount to Stealing, that person is held to have stolen the thing regardless of any of these factors.
“Special property” includes having a lien (claim) upon the property or any right arising from or dependent upon holding possession of the property.
What is Fraudulent taking or Converting to Use?
Pursuant to Section 371(2) of the Code, a person is deemed to have fraudulently taken or converted any property if they do so with any of the following intentions:
What is Capable of Being Stolen?
Pursuant to Section 370 of the Code, property or “things” that are capable of being stolen are:
An animal is in confinement, as defined in Section 370 of the Code, if it is in a den, cage, sty, tank or other small enclosure, or otherwise placed so it cannot escape and the owner can take possession of it whenever they want to.
The term animal, as defined in Section 370 of the Code, includes any living creature (other than humans) and any living aquatic organism.
The crime of Stealing is an indictable offence. This means it is heard on indictment which requires that it be dealt with in the District Court.
Pursuant to Section 426 of the Code, certain offences of Stealing can; however, be dealt with summarily in the Magistrates’ Court. The following offences are able to be dealt with summarily:
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
Contact Armstrong Legal:
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
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Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100