Regina v Roffel; 19 Dec 1984

References: [1985] VR 511, [1985] VicRp 51
Links: Austlii
Coram: Young CJ, Crockett, Brooking JJ
(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 company’s premises were destroyed by fire and the proceeds of insurance were paid into the company’s bank account. The company’s debts exceeded the proceeds of the insurance. The husband drew cheques on the company’s account and was prosecuted for theft from the company and convicted.
Held: (Majority) The court quashed the conviction. Under the Crimes Act 1958 the necessary element of appropriation required proof of adverse interference with or usurpation of some right or rights of the owner (Regina v. Morris). As the company was a separate legal entity, and in the particular circumstances (through its directing mind and will) had consented to the husband’s drawing the cheques, it could not be said that he had appropriated the company’s property.
This case is cited by:

  • Disapproved – Regina -v- Philippou CA ((1989) 89 Cr App R 290, Times 06-Apr-89)
    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 . .
  • Disapproved – Director of Public Prosecutions -v- Gomez HL (Gazette 03-Mar-93, Times 08-Dec-92, [1993] AC 442, Hamlyn, Bailii, [1992] UKHL 4, [1993] 1 All ER 1)
    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 . .

(This list may be incomplete)
Last Update: 26-Oct-15 Ref: 214209