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  • Stealing Offences in Tasmania (TAS)

    Stealing offences have one of the most “ambiguous” laws. It is also one of the most commonly committed offences in Australia. However, Every State and Territory have their separate laws and system on how they prosecute and punish offenders who are guilty of a stealing offence.

    The Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tasmania) details and explains the behaviours and actions that constitute a stealing offence. It further prescribes the punishments and charges under which an accused will be prosecuted/defended in the court.

    Stealing offences are disclosed on an individual's Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Tasmania in accordance with the Spent Convictions Scheme.

    What is a Stealing Offence?

    A person is guilty of a stealing offence under the law if they without the consent of the lawful owner;

    Fraudulently take;

    Fraudulently converts; being in possession thereof, either as a servant of the owner, bailee or part of the owner.

    Anything or item that is capable of being stolen, with an intent to permanently deprive the owner of such things.

    Fraudulently taking an item means to obtain possession by;

    • By any trick;
    • By intimidation;
    • Through a mistake on the part of the owner, if the taker knows of such mistake; or
    • By finding: If at the time of the finding, the taker believes the owner can be discovered through reasonable means.

    Who is the owner of an item, capable of being stolen?

    An owner is a person, or group that has the possession, or recipient of a will, direction or agreement to gain possession of the commodity. And the person is the owner of a special property capable of being stolen.


    However, a servant who takes out a commodity from their master with the intent to;

    • Apply it to his master use, or
    • Applies it for the master plans, or
    • Converts anything belonging to his master

    Cannot be guilty of stealing offences or wrongful conversion of the properties.

    What are the things capable of being stolen?

    The Chapter XXIV of the Criminal Code Act 1924 defines an item capable of being stolen as;

    1. Any movable thing that forms the property of a person, can be stolen by law,
    2. A thing that is attached to or forms part of any real property becomes capable of being stolen as soon as it is completely severed therefrom.
    3. A person shall not acquire any property in the dead body of an animal wild by nature only because of such animal dying on his land.

    Special cases of Stealing offences

    A person is guilty of a Stealing offence even if at the time of converting or taking the property, they did not intend to in any way deprive the owner. It is an offence of a neutral action that had unprecedented consequences such as;

    • Using the owner's property or allowing another person to use it as a pledge or security
    • Using or dealing with a property such that it becomes of a different and useless form than when he took or converted it.
    • In the case of money; to use another person’s at their discretion, even when they intend to repay the owner.

    Stealing by an agent

    An agent is a person or party who is;

    being entrusted either solely or jointly with any other person with a property so that they may retain in;

    • Safe custody, or;
    • Apply,
    • Pay,
    • Deliver for any purpose to the person the property or proceeds received for the original property.

    Those who receive jointly or solely a property for or on account of another person.


    The agent is guilty of a stealing offence if they dishonestly/fraudulently;

    • Convert the property or item entrusted (that are capable of being stolen),
    • Take or use such property for their benefits,
    • Obtain the proceeds for such property.

    However, the agent or party will not be guilty of a stealing offence if the property entrusted or proceeds;

    • ✔ Form an item in a debtor-creditor relationship between both parties
    • ✔ Pledges or gives the property in lien where the property was originally for an exchange or sale.
    • ✔ The trustee created a deed, will or mortgage in respect of any act of the trustor proceeds from the property

    Stealing by Misappropriation

    If a person or agent;

    • Violate an agreed trust, or,
    • Stated direction for a property/proceeds of it (from the receiver),

    They are deemed to be guilty of a stealing offence under the law.

    Assisting married people to take property

    A person who assists either of a married couple too;

    • Steal the properties of the other or,
    • Commit any other act that would constitute a stealing offence if they were not married;
    • And knowing such property is stolen property,

    Is deemed to steal the property.

    For example; If Mr A helps the wife of Mr Z to steal his expensive Jordans while married, the court will convict Mr A of a stealing offence.

    Stealing firearm or firearm part

    A person who steals a firearm or firearm part is guilty of the crime of Stealing a firearm or firearm part.

    For this section –

    Firearm and firearm part has the same meaning as in the firearm act

    Punishments for Stealing offences in Tasmania

    The maximum penalty for these offences is 21 years imprisonment, a fine or both. However, if the Supreme Court Judge orders your case to be heard by a magistrate; the maximum penalty is; one-year imprisonment and a fine of $4,440 or 20 penalty units. Certain stealing offences also allow an offender to be arrested without a warrant.

    Possessing or Receiving a Stolen item

    The court will find you guilty of a stealing offence even if you did not commit the crime. Under the law, certain behaviours concerning stealing offences are treated me as committing the act;

    • ✔ Where you purchased a stolen good with the knowledge that it may be stolen;
    • ✔ You knew about the theft or stealing offence
    • ✔ You received the stolen items or collected proceeds from them.

    The Criminal Code Act prescribes maximum punishments of;

    • 21 years imprisonment,
    • a fine, or
    • Both

    If the offence is heard in a Magistrate court;

    • One-year imprisonment and,
    • A fine of $4,440 or 20 penalty units

    Do stealing offences appear on a national police check in Tasmania

    Offences for stealing will show up on a person's criminal background check result. The result is disclosed in accordance with the spent convictions legislation in Tasmania.

    You can obtain your criminal history check online via the Australian National Character Check (ANCC®) website.

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