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Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Criminal Law

Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Criminal Law (15th edn)

David Ormerod and Karl Laird
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date: 30 September 2022

p. 103126. Handling and related offenceslocked

p. 103126. Handling and related offenceslocked

  • David OrmerodDavid OrmerodLaw Commissioner for England and Wales, Professor of Criminal Justice, University College London, Barrister, Bencher of Middle Temple, Door Tenant at 18 Red Lion Chambers
  •  and Karl LairdKarl LairdFixed-term Fellow and Tutor in Law, St Hilda’s College, Oxford


This chapter deals with handling of stolen goods and related offences. Under s 22 of the Theft Act 1968, a person who dishonestly receives goods, or dishonestly undertakes or assists in their retention, removal, disposal or realization by or for the benefit of another person, or if he arranges to do so knowing or believing that they are stolen goods, is guilty of the offence of handling stolen goods. English law treats this offence as an independent crime rather than one of being an ‘accessory after the fact’ to theft. The chapter considers the actus reus and mens rea of handling stolen goods, when goods cease to be stolen, handling by omission, the ‘doctrine’ of recent possession, dishonest retention of a wrongful credit, advertising for the return of stolen goods and money laundering. It concludes with an overview of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

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