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TAS Charged with Shoplifting at Supermarket by Police

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by twbp, 26 February 2015.

  1. twbp

    twbp Member

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    My wife was charged with stealing from a supermarket last friday afternoon ( theft). She takes her reusable bags to the supermarket and fills them with items as she shops and loads them into a trolley. On reaching the checkout she then unloads several bags onto the conveyor to be scanned and they are reloaded and she pays and leaves with the bags in the trolley to the car park. On this occasion one bag got left in the trolley which was not noticed by the checkout operator or my wife. I must point out that at this time my wife was desperately trying to contact her sister and family in Queensland by phone as they were caught up in the heart of the cyclone last week. She was was not concentrating very well on what she was doing with the groceries.

    Upon paying for her groceries and leaving the store she was stopped by security. After being told she realised what had happended and offered immediately to pay for the extra groceries, however police were called and a charge was laid. Her taking of the items was completely accidental and not intentional and she has never in her life had any previous charges. My question is whether an honest mistake constitutes a defence for shoplifting and could she plead not guilty, or should she just plead guilty, offer a plea of mitigation and hope for no conviction.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Have the charges been filed at court and has your wife been presented yet with a brief?

    First thing to find out is what law is she charged with breaking and that will be on the paperwork.

    If the charge is stealing, the prosecution needs to prove 3 things:

    (a) that a person acted dishonestly in appropriating property
    (b) took property belonging to another person
    (c) intending to permanently deprive that other person of the property
    Item (b) is a given. Items (a) and (c) will be harder for them to prove.

    In the meantime, have your wife write down the events in her words. Write it up NOW while her memory is still fresh, what she did, what she said, what others said to her, who she spoke to etc.

    As this is a criminal matter it needs to be taken seriously and you/she need to prepare well.
     
  3. twbp

    twbp Member

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    Thanks for the info, yes, we are writing it all down. The charge is stealing and it has been filed, she was told by the police we wont get the brief for a couple of weeks.
    We dont think it would be possible to prove (a) or (c) given the way this occoured.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    BTW, tell your wife not to fill the reusable bags till AFTER she has paid for the items.

    If there is a regular checkout person who knows your wife does this week-in week-out it will help your case. Packing items before paying does seem suspicious and will probably be something the prosecution will use against her.
     

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