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Section 117 Crimes Act 1900
Larceny

Larceny is one of the most commonly prosecuted offences in New South Wales. It is contained in section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900.

Larceny is an offence under Section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

The offence is sometimes referred to as ‘theft’ or ‘stealing’.

To establish a larceny, the prosecution must prove the following ‘elements’:

  1. That you took and carried away property
  2. That the property belonged to another, and
  3. That you did not have the owner’s consent.The prosecution will also need to prove:
  4. That you intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property, and
  5. That your actions were dishonest.

The prosecution will fail if it can’t prove each of those matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

Having a ‘claim of right’ is a defence to the charge which is where you genuinely believed you were legally entitled to the property.

Duress and Necessity are also defences to the charge.

The Legislation

Section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with ‘larceny’ and reads as follows:

117 Punishment for larceny

Whosoever commits larceny, or any indictable offence by this Act made punishable like larceny, shall, except in the cases hereinafter otherwise provided for, be liable to imprisonment for five years.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

Recent Cases

Our client is a 35 year old man from Crows Nest in Sydney.

He was charged with Take & Drive Conveyance and Carried in Conveyance Without the Owner’s consent.

The police version of the events was that our client and his partner (the co-accused) stole the subject car from an underground carpark.

CCTV footage showed a vehicle similar to our client’s following the allegedly stolen car shortly after alleged crime took place. The police claimed that our client was driving the stolen car and his partner followed in the car owned by our client.

Five witnesses described people similar in appearance to the pair in the carpark just before the alleged theft. Two of those witnesses positively identified our client from a photo identification board.

The two witnesses stated that they saw the pair driving as alleged by police. Our client’s DNA was found on the steering wheel of the allegedly stolen car. Our client’s partner – against whom there was less evidence than the evidence against our client – pleaded guilty to Carried in Conveyance Without the Owner’s Consent.

Our client maintained his plea of not guilty to both charges and the matter proceeded to a defended hearing.

In court, we cross-examined the two ‘identification witnesses’ at length regarding the circumstances under which they allegedly observed our client and his partner, and also the manner in which identification was made, revealing several concerning aspects of that ‘evidence’.

We argued the DNA could have been deposited on the steering wheel through secondary transfer; in other words, by another person such as the co-accused. We submitted that it was a circumstantial case, rather than one involving direct evidence, which meant the prosecution would need to negative any reasonable defence hypothesis consistent with innocence.

In the result, the magistrate found that the prosecution failed to prove identification beyond all reasonable doubt and also failed to negative the possibility of secondary DNA transfer.

Our client was therefore found not guilty of both charges and the case was dismissed.

Our client is a 48-year old registered nurse.

She was charged with 13 counts of ‘Dishonestly Obtain Financial Advantage by Deception’ under section 192E of the Crimes Act (‘fraud’), and one count of Larceny (stealing).

The ‘fraud’ charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment and the maximum for larceny is 5 years.

Our client was alleged to have attended various Myer stores, and presented to the counter with unpaid items from within the stores, together with corresponding incorrect online receipts for a refund or return credit.

This was alleged to have occurred for nearly 6 months, resulting in over $10,000 being transferred into her bank account.

We obtained a psychological report during the course of the proceedings, evidencing that our client suffers from major depression and anxiety.

Based upon the contents of that report, we made an application under section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act for all of the charges to be dismissed provided our client completes a ‘treatment plan’ requiring her to, among other things, continue seeing her treating psychologist.

The presiding magistrate accepted our application in court, and our client was discharged under the section without a finding of guilt.

She is therefore free to continue her employment as a nurse, provided she continues getting the help she needs to overcome her underlying conditions.

The Magistrate in Burwood Local Court found our 27 year old client from Blacktown 'not guilty' of 'steal property as clerk / servant' charges and then ordered police to pay our client's legal costs.

Our client was the Manager of a Factory Outlet Centre in Homebush Bay.

Police alleged that she defrauded her employer of more than $46,000 over a 15 month period by transferring monies into false bank accounts and claiming that they were customer refunds.

They alleged that the refunds were clearly fraudulent because no garments were actually returned.

The defence argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove that our client created the fake bank accounts or benefited from the transactions.

The Magistrate accepted our argument, finding that the prosecution could not disprove that other employees may have created the accounts and received the funds.

The Magistrate dismissed the case against our client and then ordered police to pay her legal costs on the basis they did not properly investigate the possibility that the accounts may have been created by other employees.

Here are some recent examples of our criminal defence team getting charges dismissed due to mental health under 'section 32:

The Magistrate in Ryde Local Court dismissed charges of larceny against our 37 year old client who was caught stealing a trolley-load of goods from Myer. The case was persuasively argued by Mr Nedim and the Magistrate stated 'this is only the second section 32 that I have granted out of about 20 since I came to Ryde in April'.

Downing Centre Local Court dismissed charges of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm and Common Assault against our 24 year old client despite it being his second assault case within 2 years. He received a criminal conviction for his previous case after his lawyers failed to inform him that his mental condition could be used to have his case dismissed.

Parramatta Local Court dismissed drug possession charges against our 33 year old client who was caught with 9 ecstacy tablets in his pocket. He was initially charged with 'supply' but Sydney Criminal Lawyers® had that charge withdrawn. The court found that there was a link between our client's underlying depression and his use of drugs, and that the proposed treatment plan was adequate.

Wagga Wagga Local Court dismissed a charge of 'use carriage service to make hoax threat' against our 45 year old client who contacted the NSW Fire Service advising that a bomb had been placed at a fire station. The court found a significant link between our client's post traumatic stress and his actions.

Our Senior Criminal Lawyers persuasively argued each of the cases in court.

In Campbelltown Local Court, Sydney Criminal Lawyers® successfully obtained bail for a 23 year old 'repeat offender' who was advised by his former solicitors and barrister that he had no chance of getting bail.

The man has several previous convictions for robbery, larceny, drugs and break & enter offences.

Most significantly, he was already on strict conditional bail including a night-time curfew for 'aggravated break, enter & steal' at the time of his present charges.

His present charges involve him allegedly 'break & entering' a home, stealing credit cards and using those cards shortly thereafter to make purchases at 2 nearby petrol stations and a convenience store, at a time when he was supposed to be home for his curfew.

According to the police 'facts', his use of the stolen cards is captured on CCTV footage and he had was in possession of receipts from the purchases when arrested.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® obtained bail despite all of those factors.

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