Theft charges require careful analysis and preparation. There are a number of defences available.
In addition, some cases can be resolved, as a result of making a proper presentation to the Crown, with a withdrawal of the charge in exchange for a charitable donation or the performance of community service hours.
Simple theft charges in the Criminal Code fall under two categories.
- Theft under & over $5000.00
- Shop lifting & Theft Charge
- Possession of property obtained by crime
s. 334. sets out the punishment as follows:
334. Except where otherwise provided by law, every one who commits theft term no exceeding 10 years, where … the value of what is stolen exceed five thousand dollars; or
- (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a
- (b) is guilty
(i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for
(ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction, a term not exceeding 2 years; or where the value of what is stolen does not exceed five thousand dollars.
Theft charges come in all shapes and sizes from a simple shoplifting case to theft of hundreds of thousands and more. In some instances, the accused is alleged to have taken advantage of a position of trust ie. The employee stealing from the employer. In other cases, sophisticated planning may have been employed as opposed to a spontaneous action.
There are a number of issues that must be proven on a trial for theft:
- the property does not belong to the accused;
- the accused had no “colour of right” to possess the property;
- the accused intended to steal;
It is a defence to a charge of theft (often in shoplifting cases), to say the taking of the property was an oversight. It is not unusual for a person to be preoccupied or distracted and forget to pay. The evidence in this regard does not have to accepted as being true, it simply must pass the test of whether it could be true. If the explanation could be true the Court will acquit.
Cases involving a breach of trust are serious and jail sentences are often imposed. These cases are often employee/employer relations and can range from a teller, to a worker in the warehouse, to the company accountant. Other instances are care-givers and social workers for those who are unable to look after themselves. These cases are often complicated and more difficult for the Crown to prove. Not all convictions for theft involving breach of trust result in jail sentences.
Sentencing is diverse and depends upon a number of different factors including
- the amount stolen,
- the age of the offender,
- the degree of trust,
- the sophistication
- the personal circumstances of the offender.
If you face a charge of theft call Zamani Law for assistance. Our team of experience lawyers will protect your rights and represent your best interests.
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