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Theft and Related Offences

This section covers theft, robbery, burglary and other related offences, detailing the various elements of each charge and the penalties that apply.


A person commits the offence of receiving if he or she dishonestly receives stolen property knowing or believing it to be stolen. A person cannot be found guilty of both the theft and the receiving of the same property. The maximum penalty for receiving is a fine of 1000 penalty units and/or 10 years’ imprisonment.

Obtaining Property/Financial Advantage by Deception

The elements of obtaining property by deception are that the property must belong to someone else, and must be obtained by deception (whether intentional or reckless, by words or conduct, and whether the deception related to fact or law) with the intention of permanently depriving the other person of it. The maximum penalty is 1000 penalty units and/or 10 years’ imprisonment. The penalty is the same for obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

Alternative Verdicts

The Criminal Code 2002 makes specific provision for courts to find alternative verdicts between theft, obtaining property by deception and receiving. This means that if the court thinks that someone charged with theft or obtaining property by deception is not guilty of that charge but guilty of receiving, it can find the person guilty of receiving. Similarly, someone charged with receiving can be found guilty instead of obtaining property by deception or of theft.

The same reciprocal arrangement applies between theft and obtaining property by deception.

If a court cannot decide whether a person committed theft or receiving, it is to consider which offence was more probable and find the person guilty of that. If unable to decide which is more probable, it is to find the person guilty of theft.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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