Larceny is more commonly referred to as ‘shoplifting’ or ‘stealing’ and is an offence under section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900.
Larceny is committed where a person takes and carries away an item which is capable of being stolen, without the consent of the item’s owner. For an item to be deemed capable of being stolen it must be tangible and possess some value.
In order for a person to be found guilty of larceny, they must intend to permanently deprive the owner of the item that is alleged to have been stolen. The offence may not be proved if the person takes the item by mistake, or the person believes that they are legally entitled to take the item (even if this belief is incorrect).
The penalty for larceny depends on the value of the property alleged to have been stolen. The penalty may range from a fine to a 5 years imprisonment.
How do I defend myself?
If you have been charged with larceny it is vital that you seek legal advice. An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to advise you on how to plead and whether there are defences available.
Some common defences for larceny include:
- The accused had a legal right to take the property;
- The accused intended to return the property;
- The owner consented to the accused taking the property.