This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

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...

Larceny by Clerk


In NSW, the offence of larceny by clerk or servant carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. This offence is governed by section 156 of the Crimes Act 1900 and covers any instances of theft from an employer by an employee, which is generally considered a more serious offence than theft under other circumstances. This is because it involves a breach of trust.

Local Court penalties

If a larceny by clerk matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the penalties available are subject to limitations depending on the value of the property stolen:

  • If the value exceeds $5,000 the maximum penalty is limited to two years imprisonment and/or 100 penalty units.
  • If the value does not exceed $5,000 the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment and/or 50 penalty units.
  • If the value does not exceed $2,000 the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment and/or 20 penalty units.

What must be proven?

For the offence of larceny by clerk to be proven, there must have been a theft of property. The property taken belonged to the accused’s ‘master’ or ‘employer’. This could be an individual, a business or a corporation. By law a person is a ‘clerk or servant’ if they are “bound to obey the orders of [your] employer,” that is, they are under the person’s control.

What Actions Might Constitute larceny by clerk?

A person could be charged with larceny by clerk as a result of:

  • Taking cash from the till of your workplace;
  • Taking sale stock from a business you work for and either keeping the item or selling it and retaining the profit.
  • Transferring cash from business accounts to a personal account.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Larceny by clerk is likely to be dealt with in the Local Court; however, the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court.

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

WHERE TO NEXT?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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