Stealing property, also known as theft, is the act of taking something that belongs to someone else without their permission or consent, with the intention of depriving them of it permanently. It is a serious crime with far-reaching consequences, both for the victim and the perpetrator.
This article will discuss the crimes under sections 148 to 154D of the Crimes Act 1900 of New South Wales.
Stealing Property: In a Dwelling-House
Section 148 punishes an offender who steals any property in a dwelling-house. The offender shall be liable to imprisonment for seven years. Moreover, if the offender uses menace or threat to any person therein, they shall be liable to imprisonment for fourteen years under section 149.
Stealing Property: Goods in Process of Manufacture
An offender who steals, to the value of one dollar, any goods, article, or material, while anywhere placed, or exposed, during the process or progress of manufacture is punished by law under Section 150. He or she shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.
Moreover, the offender can be liable for a four-year imprisonment under section 151 if:
- being, for the purpose of manufacture, or any special purpose connected with manufacture, employed to make, prepare, or work up, any goods, article, or material, or
- being for any such purpose entrusted with any such goods, article, or material, or with any tools, or apparatus, sells, pawns, purloins, secretes, embezzles, exchanges, or otherwise fraudulently disposes of the same, or any part thereof.
Stealing Property: From Ship in Port or on Wharfs
An offender may be liable to a seven-year imprisonment under section 152 if he or she:
- steals any property in any vessel, barge, or boat, while in any haven, or port, or upon any navigable river, or canal, or in any creek, or basin, belonging to, or communicating with, any such haven, port, river, or canal, or
- steals any property from any dock, wharf, or quay.
However, a heavier penalty of ten years imprisonment under section 153 may be imposed if the offender steals, or plunders:
- any part of any vessel in distress, or
- wrecked, stranded, or cast on shore, or
- any property of any kind to the value of two dollars belonging to such vessel.
Stealing Property: Tenants Stealing Articles Let to Hire
Under section 154, an offender, being the tenant, or occupier, of any house, building, or lodging:
- steals any chattel, or fixture let to be used therewith,
- whether the contract was entered into by the accused, or by any person on his or her behalf, shall be liable to be punished as for larceny.
Stealing Property: Taking a Conveyance Without Consent of Owner
Section 154A states that if a person commits the following acts, he or she shall be deemed to be guilty of larceny and liable to be indicted for that offence:
- without having the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of a conveyance, the offender:
- takes and drives it, or
- takes it for the purpose of driving it, or
- secreting it, or
- obtaining a reward for its restoration or pretended restoration, or
- for any other fraudulent purpose, or
- knowing that any conveyance has been taken without such consent, drives it or allows himself or herself to be carried in or on it.
For the purposes of this section, the following definition should be considered:
- “conveyance” means any cart, wagon, cab, carriage, motor car, caravan, trailer, motor lorry, tractor, earth moving equipment, omnibus, motor or other bicycle, tank or other military vehicle, or any ship, or vessel, used or intended for navigation, and
- “drive” shall be construed accordingly.
Stealing Property: Unlawfully Taking or Exercising Control of Aircraft
The criminal acts and their corresponding penalties under Section 154B are as follows:
|Stealing of any aircraft
|10 years imprisonment
|Without lawful excuse takes or exercises control, whether direct or through another person, of an aircraft
|The offender shall be deemed to be guilty of larceny and be liable to imprisonment for seven years.
|Without lawful excuse takes or exercises control, whether direct or through another person, of an aircraft while another person, not being an accomplice of the first-mentioned person, is on board the aircraft.
|The offender shall be deemed to be guilty of larceny and be liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.
|Without lawful excuse, by force or violence or threat of force or violence, or by any trick or false pretence, takes or exercises control, whether direct or through another person, of an aircraft while another person, not being an accomplice of the first-mentioned person, is on board the aircraft.
|The offender shall be deemed to be guilty of larceny and be liable to imprisonment for twenty years.
Stealing Property: Taking Motor Vehicle or Vessel With Assault or With Occupant on Board
The crime punishable by a 10-year imprisonment under section 154C is punishable by a 10-year imprisonment under if he or she:
- assaults another person with intent to take a motor vehicle or vessel and, without having the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of it, takes and drives it, or takes it for the purpose of driving it, or
- without having the consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of a motor vehicle or vessel, takes and drives it, or takes it for the purpose of driving it, when a person is in or on it.
If any of the circumstances of aggravation are present, the person convicted of such offence will be liable to a 14-year imprisonment. Particularly, the following are the circumstances of aggravation:
- the alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons,
- the alleged offender has an offensive weapon or instrument,
- the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on any person.
Stealing Property: Firearms
Under the Firearms Act 1996, a “firearm” means:
- a gun, or
- other weapon, that is (or at any time was) capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive,
- includes a blank fire firearm, or
- an air gun,
- does not include a paintball marker within the meaning of the Paintball Act 2018 or anything declared by the regulations not to be a firearm.
The stealing of a firearm under section 154C will make a person liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
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