Director of Public Prosecutions v Gomez: HL 3 Dec 1992

The defendant worked as a shop assistant. He had persuaded the manager to accept in payment for goods, two cheques which he knew to be stolen. The CA had decided that since the ownership of the goods was transferred on the sale, no appropriation of property belonging to another had taken place.
Held: An appropriation of goods sufficient to found a charge of theft may occurr when the consent to the act is obtained by a deception, and which deception results in the voidable transfer of ownership. Goods obtained by a deception might also be subject to a theft charge, because of the assumption of the rights of an owner.
Lord Browne-Wilkinson said: ‘ . . it would offend both common sense and justice to hold that the very control which enables such people to extract the company’s assets constitutes a defence to a charge of theft from the company. The question in each case must be whether the extraction of the property from the company was dishonest, not whether the alleged thief has consented to his own wrongdoing.’


Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Lowry (dissenting), Lord Browne-Wilkinson and Lord Slynn of Hadley


Gazette 03-Mar-1993, Times 08-Dec-1992, [1993] AC 442, [1992] UKHL 4, [1993] 1 All ER 1


Hamlyn, Bailii


Theft Act 1968 1(1)


ApprovedLawrence v Metropolitan Police Commissioner HL 30-Jun-1971
The defendant, a taxi driver, had without objection on the part of an Italian student asked for a fare of andpound;6 for a journey for which the correct lawful fare was 10s 6d. The taxi driver was convicted of theft. On appeal the main contention . .
Appeal fromRegina v Gomez CACD 1991
The defendant was an assistant shop manager. He accepted two cheques which he knew to be stolen from a customer in exchange for goods, by persuading the manager that the cheques were valid. He was accused of theft of the goods. He answered that a . .
ApprovedAttorney-General’s Reference (No. 2 of 1982) CACD 1984
Two men were charged with theft from a company which they wholly owned and controlled. The court considered the actions of company directors in dishonestly appropriating the property of the company, and whether since the title to the goods was . .
CitedBlack-Clawson International Ltd v Papierwerke Waldhof Aschaffenburg AG HL 5-Mar-1975
Statute’s Mischief May be Inspected
The House considered limitations upon them in reading statements made in the Houses of Parliament when construing a statute.
Held: It is rare that a statute can be properly interpreted without knowing the legislative object. The courts may . .
Explained and LimitedRegina v Morris (David); Anderton v Burnside HL 2-Jan-1983
The defendants had been accused of theft. One switched labels on a joint of pork in a supermarket, and the other presented the meat with the now cheaper label for purchase.
Held: The appeals were dismissed. There can be no conviction for theft . .
CitedDobson v General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation Plc CA 1989
The plaintiff sought to claim under his household insurance. He sold some jewelry, accepting a building society cheque which turned out later to be stolen. He argued that his loss was ‘loss or damage caused by theft’ The insurer argued that there . .
CitedLewis v Averay CA 22-Jul-1971
A private seller had parted with his car in return for a worthless cheque to a rogue who persuaded him that he was the well-known actor who played Robin Hood on television, and who sold it on to the defendant.
Held: ‘When two parties have come . .
CitedPhillips v Brooks Ltd 1919
A jeweller had a ring for sale. The buyer pretended to be somebody else: ‘I am Sir George Bullough of 11 St. James’s Square.’ The jeweller had heard of Sir George Bullough and checked he lived at the address given. He released the jewellry against . .
CitedRegina v Desmond HL 1965
The House analysed the authorities on the law of larceny and robbery, and declared its current state. While in earlier times robbery may have been limited to where there was actual violence, it became sufficient that there was ‘a putting in fear of . .
Wrongly decidedRegina v Fritschy CACD 1985
The defendant was instructed by the owner to collect a quantity of krugerrands in London and deliver them to a safe deposit in Switzerland. The defendant, having once collected the coins, took them to Switzerland and there made away with them. The . .
CitedRegina v Skipp CACD 1975
The defendant, presented himself as a contractor, and was instructed to collect and deliver consignments of goods from three different places. Having collected the goods he made off with them. He faced one count of theft in respect of the three . .
CitedRegina v Kassim HL 19-Jul-1991
The trial judge had held that a telex message requesting payment of andpound;960,000 had been ‘executed’ because it had been put into effect.
Held: A valuable security was not executed when the drawer’s bank acted upon the cheque, or request . .
CitedRegina v Philippou CA 1989
The defendants were sole directors and shareholders of their company. They appealed a conviction of theft from the company.
Held: The convictions stood. ‘Appropriates’ is to be given its ordinary English meaning, namely, ‘takes as one’s own or . .
CitedRegina v McHugh CACD 1988
In cases alleging corporate fraud it is necessary to look very carefully at the nature and limits of the authority before considering whether the questioned transaction is in truth a transaction authorised by the company. . .
DisapprovedRegina v Roffel 19-Dec-1984
(Australia – Supreme Court of Victoria) A couple ran a clothing manufacturing business. They then formed a limited company of which they became the sole directors and shareholders and sold the business to the company. The price remained unpaid. The . .
CitedSalomon v A Salomon and Company Ltd HL 16-Nov-1896
A Company and its Directors are not same paersons
Mr Salomon had incorporated his long standing personal business of shoe manufacture into a limited company. He held nearly all the shares, and had received debentures on the transfer into the company of his former business. The business failed, and . .
CitedRegina v Shuck CACD 1992
The defendant was a company officer. He gave instructions to an innocent third party which resulted in the dishonest diversion of substantial sums of the company’s money. He appealed the judge’s interpretation of the word ‘appropriation.’
CitedWhitehorn Brothers v Davison CA 1911
It is for the defrauded owner seeking to recover his goods to prove that the purchaser had actual or constructive knowledge of the fraud. The passing of a good title to an innocent purchaser applied when the owner had been induced by false pretences . .
CitedTesco Supermarkets Ltd v Nattrass HL 31-Mar-1971
Identification of Company’s Directing Mind
In a prosecution under the 1968 Act, the court discussed how to identify the directing mind and will of a company, and whether employees remained liable when proper instructions had been given to those in charge of a local store.
Held: ‘In the . .
CitedWimpey (George) Co Ltd v British Overseas Airways Corporation HL 1954
A joint tortfeasor could escape liability in contribution proceedings if it had been unsuccessfully sued by the injured person in an action brought outside the relevant limitation period. Where a court has to decide between two competing cases, if . .

Cited by:

ConfirmedRegina v Hinks HL 27-Oct-2000
A woman befriending an older man of limited intelligence accepted daily cash payments from his building society over eight months, claiming them to be gifts. She now appealed against her conviction for theft.
Held: (Lord Hutton dissenting) For . .
CitedWheatley and Another v The Commissioner of Police of the British Virgin Islands PC 4-May-2006
(The British Virgin Islands) The defendants appealed against convictions for theft and misconduct. Being civil servants they had entered in to contract with companies in which they had interests. . .
CitedPrest v Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others SC 12-Jun-2013
In the course of ancillary relief proceedings in a divorce, questions arose regarding company assets owned by the husband. The court was asked as to the power of the court to order the transfer of assets owned entirely in the company’s names. The . .
CitedJetivia Sa and Another v Bilta (UK) Ltd and Others SC 22-Apr-2015
The liquidators of Bilta had brought proceedings against former directors and the appellant alleging that they were party to an unlawful means conspiracy which had damaged the company by engaging in a carousel fraud with carbon credits. On the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Company

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.86704