A person commits the offence of Theft when the person takes, or converts anything that belongs to another person, fraudulently and ‘without the colour of right’, with intent to deprive that person of the use or enjoyment of their property. Deprivation can be temporary or permanent. ‘Anything’ can include tangible or intangible property, inanimate or animate property. The ‘colour of right’ is defined as, good faith/honest belief in a possessory right to a thing. The offence is split in two: (1) Theft over $,5000; and, (2) Theft Under $5,000.
Minor theft and shoplifting offences are some of the more common charges that come before the courts. Although these offences are considered minor, being found guilty can still have a serious impact on one’s life. Being found guilty of the offence could result in a criminal record, could cause significant difficulties when finding and maintaining employment, and may result in restrictions to travel outside of Canada. Many theft cases we see involve people who are charged for the first time, and often acted impulsively or with poor judgement.