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In your view, how satisfactory is the current law on theft?

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Introduction

A Level Law Homework 8 Analysis of Property Offences (a) In your view, how satisfactory is the current law on theft? (25 marks) The main purpose of the law of theft is to make members of the public feel secure in possession of their property. The Theft Act 1968, although does this quite well, has many flaws in it. Regarding the element of appropriation there are mixed weaknesses and strengths. Firstly you can appropriate your own property if it is in control or possession of another. This is generally a good thing. For example in the case of Turner he took his car to be repaired and later drove it off the forecourt without paying for the services. Because it was in control and possession of the mechanic he had stolen his own car. A confusing element of this element is the mixed definitions of appropriation. Section 3 (1) of the Theft act 1968 defines appropriation as assuming the rights of the owner. Morris says that appropriation must be unauthorised to fall within the meaning of theft and in Gomez the Law Lords came to a very wide, perhaps too wide definition, saying that it was help to mean an assumption of any of the rights of the owner, even if the owner consents. ...read more.

Middle

Regarding the intention to permanently deprive is it about the passage of time i.e. how long you keep the property, or about taking the goodness i.e. the value, out of the property. Three cases may actually help to some extent but all have actually come up with a different conclusion. Lloyd, who took films from the cinema and returned them unchanged, said that all the value must be rendered to be theft. Bagshaw, who borrowed gas cylinders and returned them after using some gas, said that most of the value must be rendered. Lavender, who took council door from one flat and put them on his girlfriends council flat, too one step further to say only some value must be rendered. A simple reform, suggested in the case Gianville Williams, would be to remove the word permanently to save confusion and then the defendant would simply have to deprive the victim of something. Dishonest has no definition but we do have the Ghosh Test to help juries if needed. This test is very confusing. It is a two stage test with an objective part and a subjective part to it, both need to be confirmed for the defendant to be found dishonest. However the objective part is not really needed as the subjective part can override it. ...read more.

Conclusion

This became an amendment to the Theft Act (1996). The problem with the offence of obtaining services by deception is that it needs to cover situations where there is no obvious property involved, e.g. a haircut. Services are provided on the basis they will be paid for and for a conviction the deception takes place before the services are provided. But 'gratuitous' services are not included in this definition, which is where misrepresentation tends to lead to a free service being given, usually a mortgage. It is also difficult to understand the ways in which tree offences would apply to evading liability by deception. There is an overlap between section 1 (a) and section 2 (b) as both are based on existing liability to make payment. Only section 2 1(b) involves the idea of an intention to not make payment a. Maybe they should consider abolishing section 2 and use the civil to pursue liability. When it comes to making off payment there must be an intention to avoid payment permanently as in the case of Allen (1985). In this case it was obvious that the defendant intended to pay at some point as he left his belongings, including his passport, at the hotel and phoned explaining that he would pay his bill as soon as the money from his business came through. However in other situations it may be difficult to establish and it requires a view about future intentions. Nicole O'Brien ...read more.

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