The defence of a claim of right is applicable in criminal charges of robbery, theft or larceny. This defence is available only to an accused in a criminal charge where there is an unlawful taking or asportation of property belonging to another.
In this criminal charge, the accused is charged with having taken, asported or appropriated a specific property without the knowledge or consent of the property owner and he did so because the accused believed that he had a valid legal claim of ownership and/or possession of the property.
When the prosecution has finished presenting evidence, the accused will then present evidence that the right of ownership or possession of the property subject matter of the criminal complaint is doubtful. That is, the accused has some valid basis for a legal claim of title of ownership or right to possess over the property that rivals or challenges the claim of ownership and possession of the owner.
One specific example is when a person purchases a second-hand or previously-owned car. The buyer relied upon the certificate of ownership and vehicle registration papers that listed down the engine number of the car.
Upon closer inspection, the actual engine number of the car turns out different from that appearing in the certificate of ownership or vehicle registration. The actual engine number of the car is not only different but the actual engine under the hood of the car corresponds to an engine number of a car that has been reported to have been stolen.
The accused buyer who relied upon the engine number appearing in the certificate of ownership and vehicle registration has an ostensible valid claim. He can claim that when he took the car and claimed ownership and possession of it, he did so under the belief that the engine inside the car he purchased was the engine reflected in the official documents. His claim of ownership and possession was valid in his belief as he had paid for the car and his purchase was covered by legitimate public documents.
In this case, the accused buyer and the owner from whom the car was stolen both have valid claims of ownership which may be subject of legal determination through litigation. Thus, at the time that the accused took ownership and possession of the car, he did so under a reasonable belief that he had a valid claim of ownership and possession of the car.
If you are charged with sexual offences and you have a previous proven offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance. 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.
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.