Regina v Hale: CACD 1978

The defendant appealed his conviction for aggravated burglary, saying that the force used had been only after the theft.
Held: The events were one continuing act. The court should aks ‘whether force used after the theft was complete could be seen as immediately before or at the time. The court said it was a continuing act. Eveleigh LJ said: ‘counsel submitted that the theft was completed when the jewellery box was first seized and any force thereafter could not have been ‘immediately before or at the time of stealing’ and certainly not ‘in order to steal.’ The essence of the submission was that the theft was completed as soon as the jewellery box was seized.”
and ‘In the present case there can be little doubt that if the appellant had been interrupted after the seizure of the jewellery box the jury would have been entitled to find that the appellant and his accomplice were assuming the rights of an owner at the time when the jewellery box was seized. However, the act of appropriation does not suddenly cease. It is a continuous act and it is a matter for the jury to decide whether or not the act of appropriation has finished. Moreover, it is quite clear that the intention to deprive the owner permanently, which accompanied the assumption of the owner’s rights was a continuing one at all material times. This Court therefore rejects the contention that the theft had ceased by the time the lady was tied up. As a matter of common-sense the appellant was in the course of committing the theft; he was stealing.’


Eveleigh LJ


(1978) 68 Cr App R 415


Theft Act 1968 8


Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.253526