Theft is a criminal offence in Ontario, Canada, and is defined as taking something that belongs to someone else without their permission, with the intent to deprive the owner of it permanently. The severity of the charge and potential penalties depend on the value of the stolen property and the circumstances of the crime.
Defenses to theft in Ontario include:
- Lack of intent: To be convicted of theft, the prosecution must prove that the accused had the intent to steal the property. If the accused can show that they did not have the intent to steal, they may be found not guilty.
- Mistaken belief of ownership: If the accused believed that they had a legal right to the property, they may be found not guilty. For example, if an individual finds a lost wallet and takes it, they may have a defense if they believed that they had a right to the property.
- Duress or necessity: If the accused committed the theft under duress or necessity, they may have a defense. Duress refers to when someone is forced to commit a crime against their will, for example, if a person is threatened with harm if they do not steal. Necessity refers to when someone commits a crime to prevent greater harm, for example, if a person steals food to prevent starvation.
- Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officers induce someone to commit a crime that they otherwise would not have committed. If the accused can show that they were entrapped, they may have a defense.
- Insanity: If the accused was insane at the time of the theft, they may have a defense. Insanity refers to a person’s inability to understand the nature of their actions or that their actions were wrong.
It’s important to note that these defenses are not guaranteed. The accused must be able to provide evidence to support their defense, and the prosecution can also provide evidence to refute it.
It’s also important to note that a criminal conviction can have serious consequences, including a criminal record, fines, and imprisonment. Therefore, if you are facing a theft charge, it’s important to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you understand your rights and options and can provide you with a strong defense.
If you or someone you know has been charged with Assault, contact De Boyrie Law today for a free consultation at this link. If your matter is immediate please contact us at (416) 727-1389. De Boyrie Law serves Toronto, Vaughan, and the Greater Toronto Area.
Stacey is a student at De Boyrie Law. She is currently studying to complete the BAR and is expected to join our firm once she has completed studies.