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R v Lockley [1995] Crim LR 656

Robbery under Section 8(1) Theft Act 1968, appropriation is a continuing act

Facts

The defendant stole cans of beer from an off-licence. The shopkeeper tried to prevent him leaving the shop with the stolen items, and the defendant assaulted the shopkeeper to escape. The defendant was convicted of robbery and he appealed against his conviction arguing the decision in R v Gomez [1992] 3 WLR 1061 had overruled the decision in R v Hale [1978] 68 Cr App R 415 on the issue as to whether appropriation was a continuing act.

Issues

A conviction for robbery under section 8(1) Theft Act 1968 requires proof of a completed theft under section 1(1) Theft Act 1968 together with the use of force against a person immediately before or at the time of the theft. The defendant argued the theft of the cans was complete prior to the assault on the shopkeeper and, therefore, that his conviction for robbery could not stand. He submitted that R v Hale which held that appropriation was a continuing act had been overruled by R v Gomez and that the point of appropriation was when the defendant does an act which assumes a right of the property owner. On this basis, the appropriation of the cans rendered the theft complete and the assault occurred after the completion of the offence of theft and, therefore, did not amount to a robbery.

Held

R v Hale had not been overruled on the point in issue by the decision in R v Gomez. For the purposes of robbery, appropriation is a continuing act and it is for the jury to decide whether the theft is complete prior to the use of force. The defendant’s conviction for robbery was upheld.


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