What difficulties are caused by the concept of dishonesty in section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 as it has been drafted and interpreted by the courts?
Why is dishonesty a major problem in the law relating to theft?
Six months ago Sally lent her best friend, Maria, £150 on the understanding that Maria would pay it back at £25 a month. However she has not paid back any money to Sally. Sally went to Maria’s house to ask for the money and Maria said she could not afford to pay anything back at present. When Maria leaves the room Sally sees a £50 note on a cupboard and takes it as a payment towards the loan.
Advise Sally concerning any criminal liability her actions disclose.
Mark is rushing from work one Friday evening to pick up his car from the garage before it closes. Mark is held up and when he arrives the garage is closed. As his car is on the garage forecourt he uses his spare key to get in it and drive away. He puts a note through the letter box of the garage saying he has the car and will contact them on Monday.
Advise Mark concerning any criminal liability his actions disclose
Gurbinder and Fliss are both members of a very expensive private gym. Fliss is in the changing room when she sees Gurbinder’s bag is open and her water bottle is sticking out. Fliss is particularly thirsty and takes, opens and drinks the water intending to buy her another one. She knows Gurbinder will not mind. She is still rather thirsty and seeing Gurbiner’s purse is also in the bag she takes out a ten pound note to get some lunch and another drink. She and Gurbinder have been friends for years and they both always said “what is yours is mine”. While she is putting the purse back, she notices Gurbinder’s mobile phone. She decides to borrow it as she has forgotten hers and she needs to make a few urgent calls. Fliss thought that she could put it back on the floor in the cloakroom later that day, and with any luck before Gurbinder noticed it was missing so that she was not worried. In fact Fliss went home and forgot all about the mobile phone.
Gurbinder did not miss the money or the water that day but she did miss her phone. She had to call her garage before 5pm to arrange collecting her car which was in the garage for some expensive repairs. She had received a text that morning to say that it was ready to collect. Because she could not find her phone she took a cab to the garage to find it was shut with a note on the door saying the garage was now closed for the next week due to holidays. Gurbinder was frantic as she is agoraphobic and cannot go out without being in a car, she cannot use public transport or walk. She was lucky however; she saw her car parked on the forecourt and took it. When she got home she put a block on her phone.
When she went to the gym the next day she saw an envelope with her name on it. Inside was £11.50 and a note from Fliss saying “sorry thirsty and hungry drank your water, borrowed ten pounds – here’s the money back plus the cost to cover another drink”. Gurbinder did not mind at all, particularly as she had not missed the water or the money. Discuss the criminal liabilities raised.
Mary is shopping in Finnigan’s department store with four of her friends, Paula, Caroline, John and Martin. She suggests that it would be fun to hide in the store until after the store has closed. Paula and Caroline think this is a great idea, John and Martin say that it would be a good way of getting free stuff. Mary tells them not to be so stupid, that would be the end of the fun and the beginning of trouble. Paula and Caroline join in saying that it is just meant to be a joke and they do not want to get involved in anything…