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Receiving stolen goods

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In NSW it is an offence to accept property, items or goods that have been stolen. This offence is known as "Receiving Stolen Property where Stealing is a Serious Indictable Offence".

It doesn’t matter that the person who received the stolen property wasn’t the one who actually stole the items. It is an offence merely to accept, take or receive property that has been stolen. However, the property must have been stolen in a manner which would amount to a serious indictable offence which is any offence carrying five or more years imprisonment such as Larceny, Robbery or Break, Enter and Steal.

A person can be charged with this offence if they take into their custody or accept goods that were stolen in a way which amounts to a serious indictable offence.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment.

If the item is a motor vehicle or vessel the maximum penalty for this offence is 12 years imprisonment.

THE OFFENCE OF RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY:

The offence of Receiving Stolen Property is contained in section 188 of the Crimes Act 1900 and states:

(1) Whosoever receives, or disposes of, or attempts to dispose of, any property, the stealing whereof amounts to a serious indictable offence, knowing the same to have been stolen, shall be guilty of a serious indictable offence, and may be indicted, either as an accessory after the fact, or for a substantive offence, and in the latter case whether the principal offender has been previously tried or not, or is amenable to justice or not, and in either case is liable:

  • (a) if the property is a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle part, or a vessel or a vessel part, to imprisonment for 12 years, or
  • (b) in the case of any other property, to imprisonment for 10 years.

WHAT ACTIONS MIGHT CONSTITUTE RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY?

Examples of Receiving Stolen Property include:

  • Accepting an iPhone from your friend who stole it from the Apple Store;
  • Picking up and keeping a necklace that fell from the handbag that a homeless man ripped from the clutches of a woman walking through the park; or
  • Taking a wallet your wife pickpocketed from an unsuspecting man on the train and throwing it in the bin after she’d taken out the cash.

WHAT THE POLICE MUST PROVE:

To convict you of Receiving Stolen Property the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • That you accepted or received property;
  • That property was stolen;
  • The property was stolen in a manner that amounted to a serious indictable offence; and
  • You knew the property was stolen.

POSSIBLE DEFENCES FOR RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY

The common ways to defend this charge are:

  • To maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
  • To argue that you did not actually receive the property;
  • To argue that the property was not stolen;
  • To argue that the property was not stolen in a way that amounted to a strictly indictable offence; or
  • To raise duress as the reason for your conduct.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER?

Where the value of the property is greater than $5,000 the matter will be finalised in the Local Court unless the Department of Public Prosecutions or you elect to have the matter finalised in the District Court.

Where the value of the property is less than $5,000 the matter will be finalised in the Local Court unless the Department of Public Prosecutions elects to have the matter finalised in the District Court.


Types of penalties:

Jail: This is the most serious penalty and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 as a standalone order but may be imposed as a condition of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.

Intensive Corrections Order (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Suspended Sentence: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018. This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Community Service Order (CSO): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Good Behaviour Bond: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Community Corrections Orders (CCO): A CCO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Community Corrections Orders (CCO). Additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the court, both at the time of sentence and subsequently upon application by a community corrections officer, juvenile justice officer or the offender. Read more.

Fines: When deciding the amount of a fine the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10A: A section 10A is a conviction, with no other penalty attached to it. Read more.

Conditional Release Order (CRO): A CRO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the CRO. Read more.

Section 10 avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.


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.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

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