Reducing the Amount of Theft, Property Obtained By Deception

This is a case study on reducing the amount of theft and property obtained by deception in a criminal case.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client was charged with over 300 Theft and Obtaining Property By Deception charges by the Victoria Police. The allegations were that our client roamed the streets rifling through people’s mail boxes to look for new credit cards and correspondence from banks and lending institutes so that he can use people’s personal details to apply for loans.

The police executed a search warrant at our client’s home and discovered that he had created a sophisticated filing system, which did not look good for the client. He was charged with attempting to obtain $295,000 and with actually receiving $93,000. This put the client at risk of having his matters uplifted to the County Court if it did not resolve.

What happened at court?
The case was heard at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court and we acted on the client’s behalf. The charges were:

Our first mission was to convince a prosecutor with whom he has a rapport, to agree to take carriage of the file on behalf of the prosecution. The next objective was to analyse the voluminous brief of evidence to determine which charges were supported by evidence and which charges were not, also thereby reducing the amount of theft and property obtained by deception. We summarised his analysis of the evidence into a digestible table and gave it to the prosecutor.

What was the result?
After months of negotiations and discussions with the prosecutor, they finally agreed to reduce the quantum as follows:

  1. attempted to receive to $40,000; and
  2. actually received to $10,000.
This was a great result because the amounts finally agreed on were significantly less than the original amounts the police/prosecution alleged the client obtained, sparing him from having his matters dealt with by the County Court.

The police matters
The client was sentenced to 18 months gaol less 88 days served by way of pre-sentence detention. His Honour set a non-parole period of 12 months.

The CCO breach matter
As for the Community Correction Order breach matter, his Honour re-sentenced the client to 12 months gaol wholly concurrent with the police matters with a non-parole period of 6 months. His Honour also ordered that the client provide a forensic sample, which is where a police officer will take a saliva swab from the client’s mouth with a cotton tip. His Honour made these orders after hearing plea submissions made on the client’s behalf.

Reducing the amount of theft in cases like this is crucial to ensure a much lighter sentence which could otherwise have been more severe if the case ended up in the County Court.

Elements of Theft:
  • The accused appropriated property belonging to another;
  • The accused did so with the intention of permanently depriving the other of the property; and
  • The accused acted dishonestly.
Related case studies
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 22/02/2019