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Theft and related offences

This section covers theft, robbery, burglary and other related offences, detailing the various elements of each charge and the penalties that apply.


A person commits the offence of receiving if he or she dishonestly receives stolen property knowing or believing it to be stolen.

A person cannot be found guilty of both the theft and the receiving of the same property.

The maximum penalty for receiving is a fine of 1000 penalty units and/or 10 years’ imprisonment.

Obtaining property/financial advantage by deception

The elements of obtaining property by deception are that the property must belong to someone else, and must be obtained by deception (whether intentional or reckless, by words or conduct, and whether the deception related to fact or law) with the intention of permanently depriving the other person of it.

The maximum penalty is 1000 penalty units and/or 10 years’ imprisonment.

The penalty is the same for obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

Alternative verdicts

The Code makes specific provision for courts to find alternative verdicts between theft, obtaining property by deception and receiving.

This means that if the court thinks that someone charged with theft or obtaining property by deception is not guilty of that charge but guilty of receiving, it can find the person guilty of receiving. Similarly, someone charged with receiving can be found guilty instead of obtaining property by deception or of theft.

The same reciprocal arrangement applies between theft and obtaining property by deception.

If a court cannot decide whether a person committed theft or receiving, it is to consider which offence was more probable and find the person guilty of that. If unable to decide which is more probable, it is to find the person guilty of theft.

where to next?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777