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What is Stealing in NSW?

What is Stealing in NSW?

‘Stealing’ is dishonestly taking the property of another with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it.

There must some physical movement of the property and the intention to permanently deprive must be formed at the time of taking, not at some later time.

So, stealing does not occur where:

  1. You kept an item such as clothing or a book after it was lawfully loaned to you, or
  2. You had not decided, at the time of taking, whether or not to keep the item you took, or
  3. You took an item, such as a handbag, to see if there was anything in it worth keeping but always intended to return the item and did not keep anything from it.

Stealing does occur where you dishonestly took property and ‘appropriated’ it for your use or the use of another.

So, stealing does occur where:

  1. You took money, petrol or a battery without the owner’s consent and used it or allowed another person to use it, even if you intended to later provide the owner with the equivalent property, or
  2. You took an item from a shop without paying for it, intending to return it for a refund.

Stealing also occurs where you found property and took it, intending at the time to permanently deprive the owner of it.

Defences to stealing include:

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

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