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Stealing or Destroying a Valuable Security

Stealing or Destroying a Valuable Security is an offence under Section 134 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 stole, embezzled, or for any fraudulent purpose
  2. Destroyed, cancelled, obliterated or concealed the whole or any part of a valuable security

‘Valuable security’ includes any order or other security, which entitles or evidences title to a share or interest in any public stock or fund, or to any bank deposit, debenture, deed, bond, bill, note, cheque, warrant, order or any security to money or for payment of money, or title to land or goods.

You cannot be found guilty if, before being charged, you disclosed on oath that you were undertaking the act under compulsory process in proceedings instituted in good faith by an aggrieved party, or under compulsory examination in bankruptcy, insolvency or liquidation proceedings.

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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