Discuss the criminal liability of Dave
This comes from Section 8 of the Theft Act 1968. The actus reus for this offence is the ar for a theft and the use or threat of force. We must then consider the 2 conditions before moving on to the mens rea. The mr for robbery is the same mr for a theft as well as the intention to use force to steal. The first stage which we look at is appropriation; this comes from section 3 of the Theft Act 1968. It is defined as assuming the right of the owner. In other words this is taking over one of the rights and using the item as your own.
In the case of Pitham and Hehl it didn’t matter that the furniture was not physically removed from the owner’s house, by the defendants selling it they had assumed the owners’ rights. We can further look at Morris we were told that if the defendant proved the assumption of any of the rights, then the owner of the goods can be prosecuted. This case showed us that you don’t need every right. Applying this back to the scenario, Dave assumes the right of possession when she takes the money from the post office. Secondly we look at property; this comes from section 4 of the Theft Act 1968.
There are 5 types of property. They are; Personal property, real property, other intangible property, things in action and money. In the scenario we are able to see that the property which has been appropriated was money. We then look at belonging to another; this comes from section 5 of the Theft Act 1968. This is not concerned with the legal owner but with whoever is in possession/ control of the item. You only need to prove that someone was in possession/ control of the item in question. In the scenario Dave has to take the item from whoever is in possession or control of the item.
However we can establish that the post office is in possession and control of the money. Firstly we can see whether one of the employees is in possession of it as it was left in the post office. If that cannot be found then we then look to see if the post office was in control of the money. Due to it being in the tills we could probably establish that they were in possession or control of the money. Looking at the case of Turner (No. 2) the defendant removed his car from outside the garage at which it had been repaired, intending to avoid having to pay for the repair.
The Court of Appeal held that the car could be regarded as ‘property belonging to another’ against the owner, since it was in the possession and control of the repairer. Once the ar for theft has been completed we then move on to force/ threat of force as seen in the cases of Robinson where there was no completed theft, therefore we couldn’t get a robbery and Corcoran and Anderton where the moment a theft was completed there was a robbery. Threat of Force has been used in the scenario as whilst the money is being loaded into the bag Dave screams “Hurry up or I’ll use this gun”. Read about causes of digital divide
In the case of B & R v DPP it was potentially a robbery as the victim didn’t need to fear force there just had to be a threat of force. The 2 conditions are linked to the use of force or threat of force. The first condition is whether force/ threat of force happened immediately before or during the incident. If we look at the case of Hale the LP stated that the theft would be complete as soon as they had picked up the jewellery box, the use of force in tying her up was not at the same time of the other convictions. Secondly we look at whether force was used in order to steal.
If the force was not used for the purpose of stealing then it will not be robbery. In the scenario the threat of force was used in order to get the money from the cashiers. We can then move on to dishonesty; this comes from section 2 (1) (a) (b) (c) of the Theft Act 1968. The theft act doesn’t say what dishonesty is but it gives us 3 separate ways of how you can’t be dishonest. We must always firstly consider whether the behaviour was dishonest. If we apply the Ghosh test, we can ask the question of whether he acted dishonestly.
Applying this back to the scenario by Dave holding up a post office did he act dishonest? Objectively would what Dave did be judged as dishonest by a reasonable or ordinary person and was his behaviour considered normal. Subjectively Dave should have realised he was dishonest in relation to the situation. We can move onto the intention to permanently deprive; this comes from section 6 of the Theft Act 1968. In order for someone to have that intention they would have had to dispose of the item.
Then by looking at the case of DPP v Lavender the courts said that the defendant was guilty as they had taken the doors of another property so they were treating them as their own and using them to their disposal. This can be linked back to the case as Dave robbed the money from the post office and then used it to his own disposal to go on the annual ski trip. Finally we move on to the intention to use force to steal.
We must consider whether it was him aim or purpose to take the money from the post office. Looking back at the scenario we can establish that this was his aim and purpose and by doing so he would be able to go on the annual ski trip. If we use the case of Robinson we were told that if D had a genuine belief that he had a right in law to the money, then his actions were not dishonest under s2(1)(a) of the Theft Act 1968. If convicted of the robbery offence Dave could face a life sentence in prison. But if we are not able to establish a robbery then we are able to convict him of a theft offence under S7 of the Theft Act.