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The Undertaker

Is this a civil or criminal offence?

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The Undertaker

Interesting read from the DM

Defiant woman marches into House of Fraser store and carries out a SOFA after being told she would lose the money she paid for it when the chain went bust

So she has paid for the sofa in cash but because House of Fraser has gone into administration she has lost her money, only legal way to get it back is to join a long list of creditors and even than she has no guarantee about getting the money back, so she decides with her friends to go to the House of Fraser store and take a sofa she has paid for and use a van to transport it back home. Police are called and after the officer speaks to his Inspector he decides its a civil matter and let the lady and friends take the sofa home. Is it being a civil matter correct? Some arguing on a social media that it is theft from the new owners of House and Fraser and she should have been nicked. 

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Chief Cheetah

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SimonT

I think I'm definitely in the civil camp. 

She paid for a sofa from a shop, went to the shop and took it. 

You can say she should have pursued the company for a refund, well now the new company can pursue her for the sofa, which she paid for and then took. 

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Fedster

 

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andi

Civil, there's no dishonesty.

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Sceptre

Since the Ghosh test has been struck down her belief in her own honesty or otherwise is immaterial. She has paid for a sofa, not necessarily that particular sofa, and through no fault of her own nor any of the other people in the same boat the company has gone bust but that doesn't give her any title to that particular sofa she has wheeled out. It belongs to the store, or its administrators or whoever now owns its assets - the honest way for her to recover her money is through the administration process, not by looting the shop for whatever she feels she has a right to. 

So I would say it is theft. 

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The Undertaker

This story has gained alot of media attention with the lady in question being described as some kind of martyr, if it is indeed a civil matter, will not surprise me if others who have bought items from House and Frasier and lost money because of the company going into administration try the same technique, will House and Fraser really take legal action? I suppose remains to be seen.

Interview with the lady.

 

Edited by The Undertaker

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Radman

I'm in the Civil camp here.

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Beaker

She could (should?) Have done a chargeback On the amount she put on her debit card at keast as soon as she knew the company was in administration.

 

 

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bensonby

Legally, it's quite clearly theft. 

If you take the Ivey -v- Genting Casinos definition of dishonesty it would clearly be dishonest: there is a cut process of recovering money in these circumstances. The Ghosh dishonesty "loophole" of having a subjectively honest held belief is gone. As the Justices pointed out in Ivey "the more warped the defendant’s standards of honesty are, the less likely it is that he will be convicted of dishonest behaviour". Just think about it in a slightly wider perspective - do we allow people with civil disagreements to just go about helping themselves to things because they think they should be entitled to? No, we make them go through proper litigation etc. This is the case here.

 

I sympathise with the lady though. It's a rubbish situation to be in through no fault of her own.

 

What would I have done from a policing perspective? Probably pointed out the error of their ways and then nicked her if she didn't realise the error of her ways despite having them pointed out.

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andi

But if she has paid for a sofa, would an ordinary decent person not believe she was entitled to a sofa?

If she'd gone in and taken, say, a TV, believing it to be of an equivalent value, then yes, I'd say theft, because no one would realistically say she was entitled to the tv. But she's bought and paid for a sofa, and has been and taken the same sofa. If anything, the sofa she's taken is of lesser value.

I definitely wouldn't say it was "clearly" either.

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Techie1

I have to say I laughed a bit about the bravery of this.

But it probably did need to be stopped, can't have everyone doing the same.

I'm not an officer, nor do I have a good knowledge of the law, but the thing that stands out for me is...

The sofa she paid for belonged to one company. The sofa she took belonged to a different company - e.g. the organisation responsible for the administration.

Would she walk into Tesco's and take something that she believed she was owed by Sainsbury's?

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Mac7

It’s a civil matter for me.

I was shocked when I read that Bensonby would arrest her.

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Growley

I'm with Bensonby on this one. It's quite clearly theft. She knew she wasn't allowed to take that sofa, but she did so anyway. 

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a-bothan-spy

Tend to agree that it is theft.

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