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Possession of Stolen Property

There are two possible charges under this head of crime. You may be charged with PSP under $5000 or PSP over $5000. Obviously, PSP over $5000 is a more serious offence than PSP under $5000. A typical example of this sort of charge is where a person is found in possession of a car that has been stolen. If the car is worth under $5000, the person faces a charge of PSP under $5000. If the car exceeds $5000, then the person faces a charge of PSP over $5000.

In fact, there are numerous defences that can be put forward for this type of charge. This section will outline the definition of this offence and possible defences.

What the Crown lawyer must prove to obtain a conviction:

The Crown lawyer must prove the following elements of this offence:

  • the person possessed the property
  • the person had knowledge that the property was obtained by crime

Possession of Stolen Property – Defences

What are the defences to possession of stolen property?

– I did not have control of or knowledge about the property
In some cases a person may have stolen property that ends up on land or property owned by that person. So, for example, if someone stole a vehicle and parked it on your driveway, you have a defence.

– I owned the property
This defence requires that you provide evidence that you owned the property by producing a receipt for it or provide witness testimony demonstrating that someone sold it to you etc.

– I had no knowledge that this property was stolen
There are a number of scenarios where you may have possession of stolen property that you did not know was stolen. For example, you may have bought a watch from an online database that sells used goods. It turns out that it was stolen.

– The Crown lawyer could not prove an essential element of their case
The Crown lawyer needs to call witnesses and produce the property to the court in order to convict an accused. Normally they have the owner of the property testify at trial. That person must testify that they can identify the property, assert that they did not consent to the accused possessing the property and describe how the property was obtained by crime.

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