1. For the accused, Luke McMurray, to be found guilty of theft, the following elements needed to be established by the prosecution:
- the object of the alleged theft was property belonging to another person – the property belonged to businesses in the Ballarat area.
- the accused appropriated that property – the accused took the property from the businesses without paying for the property.
- the accused appropriated the property with the intention to permanently deprive the other person of the property – the accused intended to keep the property taken at the time he appropriated it, and to not return it to the owners.
- the accused appropriated the property dishonestly – the accused took the property from the businesses without paying for the property.
2. The prosecution would be able to establish that McMurray had committed theft as he dishonestly appropriated property that belonged to other people (the various businesses and their owners) with the intention of permanently depriving those businesses of the property.
3. As a defence,McMurray might have claimed that he made an honest mistake in taking the property or that he had no intention of permanently depriving the businesses of the property. Alternatively, McMurray might have used mistaken identity as a defence. He could have argued that he was not at any of the businesses, or that the person seen/ caught committing the crimes was someone else.
4. Responses will vary. Students are likely to conclude that McMurray should have been found guilty of theft. For example, students might point out that he was caught at one point with property down his top. In other words, he was caught dishonestly appropriated property that belonged to the business with the intention of permanently depriving the business of that property.
5. Responses will vary. Students might point out, for example, that the victims of theft suffered a loss of their property. The owners of the businesses, and their employees, may feel unsafe or violated. It is likely that the businesses would have needed to spend time dealing with police. The offender, Luke McMurray was also affected as he was imprisoned – this can have an effect on his family as well as his freedom.
6. Responses will vary. Students might point out, for example, that the financial costs associated with assistance to victims, security and insurance, as well as the identification, investigation, prosecution and prevention of crimes such as theft, have a negative economic impact.