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Larceny by Joint Owner

Larceny by a Joint Owner is an offence under section 162 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 a joint owner of any property, or a member of a copartnership in relation to any property, and
  2. You stole or embezzled that property

A ‘copartnership’ includes all societies and companies.

To ‘steal’ property is to “take it away, without consent and intending to deprive the… [owner] of it permanently”.

To ‘embezzle’ is to misappropriate property placed in your trust.

A defence to the charge is having a ‘claim of right’ over the property, which means you genuinely believed you were legally entitled to the whole of it.

Duress and necessity are also defences to the charge.

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