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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.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
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.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
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.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Stealing by Finding (Vic)
Theft is the most common property offence and is contained in section 72 of the Crimes Act 1958. While theft generally relates to deliberately taking an item that belongs to someone else without permission, it can also arise in situations where an item is found and retained, without taking steps to locate the legal owner. This is known as stealing by finding.
What is theft?
In order for the offence of theft to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the following thresholds (or elements) must be established by the prosecution:
- That the accused obtained property that belonged to another;
- That they did so with the intention to permanently deprive the other of the property; and
- That they acted dishonestly.
What is stealing by finding?
When a person comes across an item in the street and obtains this property for their own benefit (for example a mobile phone), there is a serious question as to whether the possession of this item may constitute the offence of theft – theft in these circumstances is known as stealing by finding. To determine this, we must look into the above elements a little further.
Under section 73(4), ‘appropriation’ is committed if a person assumes any of the rights associated with an item (for example, taking an item into their possession).
Intention to permanently deprive
For a theft to be committed, there must be an intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property which has been appropriated. This intention must be permanent, and an intention to temporarily deprive the owner of the item is not enough to meet this threshold. For example, when someone locates an item in the street, with the intention to hand it into a lost and found, or to the police, there is no intention to permanently deprive the true owner of the item. However, in a situation where a person locates an item and take the item home, the argument that they do not have an intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property becomes less likely to succeed.
Under the legislation, there is a very specific definition of what constitutes ‘dishonest conduct’ in the context of theft. Theft by finding an item will only be made out when the prosecutions can prove that the accused’s appropriation of the property belonging to another was dishonest.
Conduct is not regarded to be dishonest if:
- the accused had a legal right to deprive the owner of the property; or
- the owner would have consented to the appropriation if they had known of the circumstances; or
- the owner could not be discovered by taking all reasonable steps.
It is generally the last of these considerations that causes a hurdle for many people who appropriate an item that they have ‘found’. The finder of the item is required to take all reasonable steps in attempting to locate the true owner of the item, to avoid appropriating that item dishonestly. In situations where an item has details attached pertaining to the identity of the true owner (for example a wallet with identification cards in it, or a mobile phone with details contained on it), this may require more to be done before reasonable steps’ can be said to have been taken, as it is highly likely that the identity of the true owner could be discovered.
In situations whereby an individual locates an item, and they hold the legitimate belief that the true owner of the item cannot be located by taking reasonable steps, it is arguable that this conduct does not constitute the offence of theft. However particular attention needs to be given to the state of mind and belief that the person who appropriated the property has.
Stealing by finding: Lost Property vs Abandoned Property
It is important to consider whether an item is simply lost or has been abandoned by its owner. Under the Crimes Act 1958 an item/property, no longer ‘belongs’ to someone if that person has ‘intentionally’ relinquished all ownership rights of that property. This principle was further expounded in the decision of R v Small  Crim LR 777.
The key point here is that the owner must have intentionally relinquished their rights, which ultimately will be determined on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on the circumstances of how and where the item was located. A mobile phone located on the footpath is less likely to meet this threshold than a mobile phone located in a rubbish bin. However, there is no clear definition of what constitutes the ‘intentional relinquishment’ of ownership. Therefore it is important to seek legal advice should this be an issue in dispute.
Other offences related to stealing by finding
There is also a multitude of other offences that are related to theft and where a person may be charged in a situation where they did not intentionally deprive someone of an item. A person may be charged in a situation where they came into possession of an item believing that they had ‘found’ the item legitimately.
Is the item stolen?
The offence of handling stolen goods requires that the prosecution establish that the person who appropriated the property either knew or believed that the items were stolen. It is not enough that the accused suspected that the goods were stolen, there must be actual knowledge of this.
It is important to note that when ‘finding’ or otherwise acquiring an item, if there is any suspicion or indication that the items may be stolen, then it is extremely important the above is considered, to avoid any possible criminal implications resulting from handling the stolen item.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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