When are you guilty of receiving stolen goods?

To prove a person guilty of the offence of “receiving stolen goods” there are three “elements” of the offence that the Prosecution must prove, namely that-

  • The property was stolen;
  • The person had possession of the stolen property; and
  • The person had “actual knowledge” that the property was stolen.

If a person did not have knowledge at the time of receiving the property, that the property was stolen, but later became aware that the item had ‘fallen off the back of a truck’, the person is generally not considered to be guilty of an offence of receiving.

The Courts may, however, infer the person did have knowledge because of the  circumstances surrounding the way in which the person came into possession of the property.

The general approach in establishing whether a person has received stolen property is:

  1. Whether the person had some sort of power, possession or control over the stolen property; and
  2. Whether the property has been stolen not long before it was found in the possession of the accused person – evidence of “recent possession” shortly after the property was stolen allows the Court to infer that the person was either the original thief or the receiver of the stolen property.

If you have been questioned or charged by the Police, it is important to obtain advice from an experienced Criminal Lawyer.

With over 30 years experience in law, firstly as a Police Officer and since 2000, a Solicitor specialising in criminal law, Murray Edwards is able to assist his clients to find their way through this complex area of law.  Call Murray now on 4324 7699 for a confidential chat on the phone.