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 the purposes of the Theft Acts the acceptance of a gift can constitute ‘appropriation.’ The word is not to be construed narrowly. It is neutral, and intended to encompass any assumption of the rights of an owner. In this case the defendant had persuaded a vulnerable and trusting person to make substantial gifts over period of time. An appropriation need not involve an element of adverse interference or assertion of some right of ownership. Would an ordinary member of the public see the act as dishonest?
Lord Hobhouse said: ‘The making of a gift . . involves the donor in forming the intention to give and then acting on that intention by doing whatever is necessary for him to do to transfer the relevant property to the donee.’
Lord Slynn of Hadley Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle Lord Steyn Lord Hutton Lord Hobhouse of Wood-borough
Times 27-Oct-2000, Gazette 09-Nov-2000,  UKHL 53,  3 WLR 1590,  2 AC 241, (2001) 165 JP 21,  1 Cr App R 18,  Crim LR 162,  4 All ER 833,  1 Cr App Rep 18
Confirmed – Regina v Lawrence (Stephen) HL 1981
The defendant had ridden a motor-cycle and hit a pedestrian. The court asked whether he had been reckless.
Held: The House understood recklessness as ‘a state of mind stopping short of deliberate intention, and going beyond mere inadvertence’ . .
Confirmed – 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 . .
Cited – Wheatley 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. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.85307