Shoplifting is not exactly provided for in the Crimes Act 1900 in NSW but it is considered as a form of stealing and therefore punishable.
The crime of shoplifting is the most common form of larceny that is found in Section 117 of the Crimes Act and punishable with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
Shoplifting is the theft of merchandise or goods that are for sale from a store or any commercial business. The elements of larceny are applicable to shoplifting and these are:
1. The property is a personal property;
2. The property belonged to another person other than the accused;
3. The property was taken by the accused;
4. The taking of the property was without the consent of the owner;
5. The property was taken with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it;
6. The accused does not have a claim of right in good faith over the property;
7. The property was taken fraudulently.
That the property is a personal property means that it is capable of being taken away. The element that the property belongs to another may be through ownership, possession or control of the property.
The act of taking means that there was physical movement of the property but this must be coupled with the intention of stealing. In a complaint for shoplifting the prosecution must provide evidence that the property is under the name of another. For the 5th element it must be shown that the intention was to deprive the owner permanently of the property.
This may be proved by showing that the accused appropriated the stolen property or exercised ownership over it. It is with the 6th element that the accused can usually raise his defence by arguing that he genuinely believed that he had a legal right over the property at the time of taking it.
So this is when we would hear reasons like the accused thought that he had already paid for the property and there was a mistake. Finally, the last element shows the dishonesty of the accused by taking property which he knows he is not the owner.
Being involved in the criminal or police process can be quite demanding, rigorous, and time consuming. Hiring the right criminal lawyers can often make a substantial difference in your case.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.