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Property Offences (NSW)

The right to possess and defend property is a basic principle enshrined in the New South Wales criminal justice system. It is a recognition of the value of property in our society. As such, property offences relating to property, for example, stealing, damaging property and threatening to damage another person’s property are taken very seriously. Crimes against property are contained in Part 4AD of the Crimes Act 1900. Many property offences attract a maximum penalty of imprisonment.

If you have been charged with a property offence it is imperative that you seek expert legal advice promptly.


Larceny is the offence also known as theft or stealing. It occurs when a person dishonestly appropriates another person’s property with the intention of permanently depriving them of the property. It is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

Larceny by clerk is the offence also known as theft from an employer. It is more serious than general larceny because of the breach of trust it entails. It carries the greater maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. The related offence of embezzlement by clerk occurs when an employee dishonestly approiates funds or property belonging to their employer, before the employer has taken possession of the property of funds. For example, when money is paid to a company via their employee but the employee retains the money to use for themself.


When the offence of shoplifting occurs in New South Wales it is charged as larceny.

Malicious damage of property

The offence of malicious damage of property occurs when a person intentionally or recklessly destroys property belonging to another person. This offence can attract a term of imprisonment of up to five years (or six years if the accused is in company with another person).

Threatening to destroy or damage property

If a person threatens to destroy or damage property in New South Wales they can be found guilty of an offence even if the threat is not carried out provided the threat was made with the intention of causing the victim to fear it would be carried out.

Damaging or desecrating protected places

The offence of damaging or desecrating protected places occurs when a person vandalism or otherwise damages a shrine, monument or statue located in a public place.

Throwing rocks at vehicles

In New South Wales, it is an offence to throw rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels. For a person to be found guilty of this offence the vehicle or vessel must be on a road, railway or waters and the act must risk the safety of a  person in the vehicle or vessel.

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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