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Larceny by Clerk


Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In NSW, the offence of Larceny by Clerk or Servant carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. If the 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 maxmimum penalty is two years imprisonment and/or 20 penalty units.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for larceny by clerk.


The offence of Larceny by Clerk or Servant is contained in section 156 of the Crimes Act 1900 which states: "whosoever, being a clerk, or servant, steals any property belonging to, or in the possession, or power, of his or her master, or employer, or any property into or for which it has been converted or exchanged, shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years."


  1. There must be a theft of property. See the page relating to the offence of Larceny for further detail on these elements.
  2. The property taken must belong to the offender’s ‘master’ or ‘employer’. This is generally taken to be an employer, which could be a single person, a business or a corporation. By law you are a ‘clerk or servant’ if you are “bound to obey the orders of [your] employer,” that is, you are under their control: R v Negus.
  3. Common examples of offences under this provison are:
    1. Taking cash from the till;
    2. Taking sale stock from the business and either keeping the item or selling the item and retaining the profit.
    3. Transferring cash from business accounts to a personal account.


  1. That you took property;
  2. That belonged to someone else;
  3. You did so without the owner’s consent;
  4. With the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it.
  5. You were a ‘clerk’ or ‘servant’ of the owner of the property at the time of the offence.



This will depend on the value of the property alleged to have been taken.

If the value of the property exceeds $5,000, it is a Table 1 offence. This means that the matter will likely be dealt with in the Local Court, however the DPP or the defendant can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court.

If the value of the property is does not exceed $5,000, it is a Table 2 offence. This means that the matter will also be likely to be dealt with in the Local Court; however, the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with 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: 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: 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): 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: 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.

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