Property Offences

Slades & Parsons Solicitors have extensive experience in defending people charged with theft and deception-related charges. These range from minor shop-thefts and possessing suspected proceeds of crime to large-scale social security frauds, aggravated burglaries and armed robberies.

We will provide careful and detailed advice at any stage if you are facing charges of this nature. If you are suspected by police to have been involved in a property-related offence, it is important that you receive professional legal advice before being interviewed by police. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your call. Without such advice, you leave yourself open to unintentionally giving the police evidence against yourself.

A record of interview is important because there are often issues of identification and intention in the context of these offences. Just because someone is found to be in possession of goods which are stolen, this does not mean all charges laid by police (shop-theft or burglary, for example) can be proved. Burglary involves trespassing on a property with an intention to steal. If police find in your possession items from a burglary, it does not automatically follow that they can prove you committed the burglary.

Theft charges

If you are charged with an offence of theft the prosecution must prove all the elements of the offence. The “elements” are the essential matters that must be proved beyond reasonable doubt before you can be convicted of an offence of theft.

  • That you appropriated property belonging to another.
  • That you did so with a dishonest intention.
  • That you acted dishonestly.

These elements are further explained in the Crimes Act. However, you need to discuss the circumstances of the allegation with a lawyer as each case will depend on its own facts. Substantial law exists regarding the meaning of words such as “dishonestly”, “appropriation”, “intention” and “property”.

The Crimes Act defines “theft” at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s72.html and it provides a further explanation of what may constitute theft at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s73.html

Aggravated burglary

Aggravated burglary can be categorised in three ways:

  • Entering a property having an intention to steal whilst thinking that a person might be present;
  • Entering a property having an intention to assault whilst thinking that a person might be present; or
  • Entering a property having an intention to assault whilst possessing a weapon.

Seek legal advice at the earliest possible stage to assess how to approach the record of interview. Early legal advice can also assess the strengths and weaknesses in the case.

In the context of large-scale fraud cases, the prosecution case will often rely on a paper trail of bank documents and other financial instruments. These are complex matters requiring careful attention to detail. Our solicitors have significant experience analysing the brief of evidence and work closely with barristers experienced in this field.

“Burglary” is defined in the Crimes Act at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s76.html and “aggravated burglary” at:  http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s77.html

Armed Robbery

If you are charged with armed robbery, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the elements of this offence, namely;

  • That you committed a theft.
  • That immediately before or at the time of the theft you either:
  • Used force on a person or,
  • Put a person in fear , or sought to put in fear, that force was going to be used (at that time)
  • That you acted that way in order to commit the theft
  • That at the time of the theft you had a weapon ( including imitation and others).

Each case is different and the evidence that the prosecution relies on needs to be carefully analysed by your lawyer. Armed robbery is a serious offence as defined by s3 of the Sentencing Act 1991.

Call our office for a free consultation and speak to a specialist in criminal law about your case.

“Armed robbery” is defined in the Crimes Act at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s75a.html and in the Sentencing Act at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/sa1991121/s3.html#serious_offence.