Legal Case Summary
R v Gomez  AC 442
Dishonest appropriation of property by using stolen cheques to mislead shop manager
The defendant, Gomez, was an assistant manager of a store. He worked with two other people who had stolen cheques. Even though he knew the cheques were stolen, he convinced the store manager to accept them as payment for goods.
The crime of “theft” as defined in section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 requires, among other things, “dishonest appropriation.” This concept is expanded in section 3 of the 1968 Act to include “any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner.” According to a previous court case, Lawrence v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, any instance of obtaining something by deception can fall under section 1 of the 1968 Act. Therefore, the prosecution argued that it is not necessary to prove the lack of consent as an element of theft in this case. However, in another case, R v Morris, it was ruled that appropriation involves taking away or intruding upon the rights of the owner.
The House of Lords determined that the proposition in Morris, if it was legally accurate, applied only to the type of appropriation defined in section 3 of the 1968 Act. While appropriation may include taking away or interfering with the rights of the owner, it does not mean that no other act can be considered an appropriation. Following the case of Lawrence, the court ruled that there can be an “appropriation” even when the owner (the store manager in this case) consents to it. This case therefore established that an appropriation can be based on the individual’s intentions, and it is not necessary for the act to be inherently criminal for it to be considered a “dishonest appropriation.”
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