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Larceny by clerk or servant – s 156 Crimes Act 1900

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‘Larceny by clerk or servant’ refers to situations where you steal property belonging to your employer.

It is a form of fraud which is taken seriously by the courts.

However, as Sydney’s best criminal defence team, our experienced lawyers can advise you of the best course of action when it comes to fighting the charges and avoiding a conviction or lengthy penalty.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

There are certain factors (known as the ‘elements’ of the offence) which the prosecution must prove before you can be found guilty of ‘larceny by clerk or servant.’

These are:

  • That you were a clerk or servant (essentially, that you were an employee)
  • That you stole property (i.e. that you took property and carried it away without your employer’s permission, and without any intention of returning it);
  • That your employer owned the property or had it in their possession

If you believe that the prosecution will be unable to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, our team of expert defence lawyers can advise you on the best way to fight the charges in court.

Where there is insufficient evidence, or problems with the prosecution case, our lawyers can write to the prosecution requesting that the charges be dropped.

Often, this means that our clients avoid the time and expense of a defended hearing.

If the matter ends up in court, our criminal law specialists will fight hard to protect your rights and interests by thoroughly examining all relevant witnesses and presenting all evidence in a positive light.

Our lawyers can assist you in avoiding a conviction by explaining your side of the story in a compelling and favourable manner.

We can also identify and raise any viable defences, which, if accepted, will result in the charges being dropped.

Examples of commonly raised defences for ‘larceny by clerk or servant’ include:

  • Where you believed that the property belonged to you, or that you had a legal claim to the property in question (claim of right);
  • Where you were threatened or coerced into stealing the property (duress).

For more information on ‘larceny by clerk or servant,’ see our legislation page here.

Pleading Guilty

Our fraud specialists can also assist you should you wish to accept the charges and plead guilty.

In some situations, it may actually be beneficial to plead guilty at an early stage, as it will show that you have accepted responsibility for your actions.

This generally results in the court imposing a more lenient penalty than that which you would have received if you were found guilty following a defended hearing.

However, before entering a plea of ‘guilty,’ it is advisable that you seek assistance from our highly experienced lawyers, as there may be some way in which you can fight the charges and avoid a conviction.

You should also be aware of the maximum penalties that may apply if you decide to plead guilty.

‘Larceny by clerk or servant’ carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

However, this is the absolute maximum and it will only apply in the most serious cases.

Generally, these types of matters will be dealt with in the Local Court before a magistrate, where the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.

However, in some cases, particularly where the property stolen is valuable, the prosecution may choose to have the matter heard in the District Court, where lengthier penalties apply.

Our lawyers will push to have your ‘larceny by clerk or servant’ matter dealt with in the Local Court.

We will then prepare compelling ‘sentencing submissions’ which highlight any positive factors in your case in order to maximise your chances of obtaining the most lenient penalty possible.

The types of penalties that the court can impose include:

The types of penalties that the court can impose include:

Our lawyers have considerable experience preparing and presenting sentencing submissions in some of the most difficult fraud matters, so you can rest assured that we will help you achieve the best possible result – no matter how serious the circumstances are.

Frequently Asked Questions

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:

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, 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.

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