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My legal matter concerning an application for a Domestic Violence Order was managed by Mr Thomas Allen. I am grateful for the outcome he obtained. Without Mr Allen and his ongoing support, I would be certain of a different result. It has been an extremely stressful period. Mr Allen’s astute ability to liaise on my behalf and his expertise was invaluable and for which I am grateful as I am now able to move forward. Thanking you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
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Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
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Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
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Larceny By Finding (NSW)
Is “finders keepers” a crime? In some circumstances, a person can be charged with larceny by finding. The law expects the finder to make reasonable efforts to locate the owner before deciding to keep the property. Then, unless the original owner makes a claim, the finder will have the best claim of right over the property.
Larceny is the crime of taking property or money that belongs to another, regardless of value. The High Court defined larceny in the leading case of Ilich v R in 1987:
“A person steals who, without the consent of the owner, fraudulently and without a claim of right made in good faith, takes and carries away anything capable of being stolen with intent, at the time of such taking, permanently to deprive the owner thereof.”
Section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900 states the maximum punishment for larceny is a maximum of 5 years imprisonment. The maximum penalty is 2 years if the matter is dealt with in the Local Court.
What police must prove
There are seven elements that must be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, for a court to find a person guilty of larceny.
The four physical elements are that a person:
- took and carried away;
- property capable of being stolen;
- which belonged to another;
- without the consent of the owner.
The three mental elements are that a person acted:
- with the intention to permanently deprive the owner;
- without a claim of right; and
- fraudulently or dishonestly.
In relation to larceny by finding, the critical element is the mental element of fraud or dishonesty. The question is: was the person acting fraudulently or dishonestly when they took the property?
To prove the person acted fraudulently or dishonestly, the prosecution will need to show the person did not take all reasonable steps to find the property’s owner. This needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
If a person genuinely believes the property is lost, and they genuinely believe the property owner cannot be found, they cannot be found guilty of larceny by finding.
A person cannot be charged with the offence if the property has been abandoned i.e. the owner has intentionally given up any interest in the property.
The penalties for larceny by stealing vary because the court must consider a range of factors when sentencing for the offence. These include:
- the value of the money or item taken;
- the type of property, differentiating between items taken out of need and those taken for materialistic reasons;
- any planning or sophistication involved;
- whether the property was taken for personal use or profit;
- whether the person committed the crime alone or in a group;
- any criminal record for the person;
- the plea entered.
Larceny by finding cases
In 2010 a Melbourne couple discovered more than $100,000 that had been sewn into a suitcase they bought from a Salvation Army store. A woman had donated the suitcase, unaware her husband had hidden cash in it. The couple who bought the suitcase were arrested and charged with larceny by finding when they made no attempt to find the luggage’s owner, instead dividing the money into several bank accounts and spending some of it.
In 2013, a Sydney man found a bag on a table in a McDonald’s restaurant. The bag contained $11,700 cash, a Victorian driver’s licence, a Medicare card, an iPhone, a hotel swipe card and other items. The man made no attempt to locate the bag’s owner, instead splitting the money with friends and spending some. He was subsequently convicted of larceny by finding, receiving a 12-month good behaviour bond.
In 1996, a Darwin woman discovered eight Japanese banknotes scattered on a coastal walkway while pushing her infant daughter in a pram. The woman took the notes to a foreign exchange bureau and exchanged seven notes for $671, giving the eighth to a friend. She was convicted of larceny by finding. She appealed on the basis she had a reasonable belief the owner of the banknotes could not be discovered but her appeal was dismissed.
In 1983, a Sydney man found a camera hanging on a fence while he was walking in a laneway. He was charged with larceny by finding and fined $100. The man appealed but was not successful. The court ruled that there was ample evidence, given the nature and value of the camera and where it was found, that it had not been abandoned by the owner. It also pointed to the fact the man had open to him a variety of reasonable options to locate the owner but did not exercise them.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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