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Larceny by Bailee

Larceny by Bailee is an offence under section 125 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You were the bailee of property, and
  2. You fraudulently took, converted or exchanged any or all of the property for your own purposes or those of another.

A ‘Bailee’ is someone who lawfully takes possession but not ownership of another’s property. Examples include dry cleaners, valet parking attendants, coat check clerks and banks.

The prosecution does not need to prove that a formal contract existed between you and the bailor, who is the person that entrusted you with the property.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress, and
  2. Claim of right, which means you genuinely believed you were legally entitled to the property.

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