Appropriation of abandoned items may not constitute theft even if the act of appropriation could be considered unreasonable. In R v Small (1987), the defendant was charged with the theft of a car that had been left parked with the keys in it.
The defendant argued that he thought the car had been left abandoned and the court accepted his argument.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the defendant could not be guilt of theft if at the time of the appropriation he honestly believed that the car had been abandoned and under the circumstances the owner could not have been deprived of it.
Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Jessica Ward