On 12 December 2019, the Penrith Press has reported two incidents of people stealing items from local shopping centres over the weekend. On Saturday, 7 December 2019 a 29 year old woman was arrested for allegedly stealing items from two stores in Penrith amounting to a total RRP of approximately $115.
It is also reported that on the same day a 21 year old woman stole approximately $400 worth of items at a Penrith shopping centre from three different stores.
What is Larceny?
Larceny is an offence where a person steals another’s property (including money) without any rightful claim to that property. The “elements” or things that are required to show the offence are as follows:
- The accused took property; and
- That property belonged to another person; and
- The accused intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property; and
- The property was taken without consent of the owner.
Larceny is the general term used at law to describe stealing. Another charge that is commonly seen is “Shoplifting”. This is found under the same legislation and is generally applied when items are allegedly stolen from shop and not an individual person.
Does the value matter?
Yes, the total value of the items alleged to have been stolen will increase not only how seriously the Court takes the offence but also the severity of the potential sentences that could be imposed by the Court.
Larceny offences of less than $5,000 in value are to be dealt with summarily (in the Local Court) unless the prosecution elects to take it to the District Court.
Larceny type offences are generally categorised based on a total value range being:
- Greater than $15,000;
- Greater than $5,000 but equal to or less than $15,000;
- Greater than $2,000 but equal to or less than $5,000; and
- Equal to or less than $2,000.
What are the penalties?
|Offence||District Court||Local Court||Fine||Infringement Notice|
|Larceny >$15000||5 years imprisonment (max)||2 years imprisonment (max)||$11,000||n/a|
|Larceny >$5000 & <=$15000||5 years imprisonment (max)||2 years imprisonment (max)||$11,000||n/a|
|Larceny >$2000 & <=$2000||5 years imprisonment (max)||2 years imprisonment (max)||$5,500||n/a|
|Larceny <=$2000||5 years imprisonment (max)||2 years imprisonment (max)||$2,200||$300|
What if I try to give the items back?
Generally, the act of taking the property for yourself, even if you intended to give the property back will not be accepted as a defence in its own right. The Crimes Act specifically rules this out as a defence but this can still be important when the Court is determining how serious the offence is. If the person or shop has all of its property returned and they are not put out, this will generally be a positive consideration for the Judge or Magistrate.
What should I do if I’ve been charged?
It is always recommended that people are represented in Court so that you have a professional voice in the courtroom but also a person who can give you proper advice on what you are facing and how to get the best results in Court.
At Whitfield|Legal we have significant experience in criminal law matters. We offer a free initial consultation and ongoing support for you even after your matter is finalised. Call us today on 0412 159 813 and one of our local lawyers will be able to discuss your matter with you.