June 29, 2016

DPP v MRY: Larceny and Housebreaking

Larceny – Section 117 Crimes Act 1900 – unauthorised entry of vehicle – Section 6A Summary Offences Act 1988 – breaking into house and committing serious indictable offence – Section 112 Crimes Act 1900 – inappropriate charges withdrawn – plea of guilty to remaining charges – submissions upon sentencing

Facts:

MRY was charged with a six indictable offences following a pattern of opportunistic break-ins. MRY was several times captured on CCTV walking into bars and restaurants and approaching the till. On three occasions he made out with cash or other belongings. MRY was charged with three counts of larceny, one count of entering a vehicle without the consent of the owner, and two counts of break and enter with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence.

Outcome:

The defence was able to show that the charges of break and enter with the intention of committing a serious indictable offence were completely inappropriate. The actual wording of that section (s 112 Crimes Act) does not mention an intention to commit an offence; the section only applies if a break and enter is accompanied by an actual indictable offence. As such, the two s 112 charges were withdrawn. The summary offence of unauthorised entry of a vehicle was also withdrawn.

MRY was left to plead guilty to the three charges of larceny. Upon sentencing, the defence made submissions to the effect that MRY’s lack of formal education and drug dependency since the age of 14 made him particularly susceptible to opportunistic crime. MRY was not a violent offender, and the constant contact with the criminal justice system made it very difficult for him to find stable employment. Due to the strength of these submissions, a lenient aggregate sentence of 10 months imprisonment was imposed, with a non-parole period of 7 months.