Possession of stolen property

Possession of stolen property

It is a crime to be in possession of property that was obtained by the commission of a criminal offence. There is no requirement that the person in possession of the property is the same person who committed the offence.

Like all criminal offences, there is a mental element to this crime. The person charged must know that the property was obtained by crime. However, that knowledge can be proven in several ways.

One way to prove knowledge is through the doctrine of recent possession. The doctrine of recent possession is a common law rule which states that if property was recently stolen, it can be inferred that the person in possession of the property knows the property was obtained by crime.

Another way to prove knowledge is through wilful blindness. To be wilfully blind, a person must ignore a real suspicion in their mind that the property was obtained by crime.

Being convicted of possession of stolen property can have serious consequences, up to time in jail. Even if it is your first time being charged, you may end up with a criminal record which could hurt your job prospects in the future. Having a lawyer to defend you on these charges could be a great help to keep you criminal-record free.