Sebastian commits this offense when he dishonestly buys business class tickets with the intention to sell them. Evidence of further dishonesty is illustrated by his travelling in economy class while the company records indicate that he travelled in the business class. Though no harm results to the company, the case of Attorney General’s Reference (No.3 of 2003) held that the key determinant in the offense is the conduct, not the results. Accordingly, Sebastian has committed the offense regardless of the outcome of his conduct.
However, it may be difficult to prosecute Sebastian; because his official capacity at the Morgan Wetherby Investment Bank may not be considered as a public office, which as was held in R v. Rembridge, is a key to the offense. Alternative offenses include abuse of power and appropriation. Appropriation is committed where a person uses property in their custody or possession in an unauthorized manner (Philip et. al., 2012). Appropriation is provided for under section 3 of the Theft Act.
Sebastian commits appropriation by selling the business class tickets. The intended and authorized use of the tickets is to travel, thus selling them puts them to unauthorized use. Moreover, he does not have the authority to sell them; his authority is limited to using them. Appropriation also is a common law offense (Jennifer, 2010), though some jurisdictions have codified it. The offense is a felony and it is punishable by incarceration. Additionally, it is both a civil and criminal offense, thus the Bank may sue Sebastian for the offense. Should the Bank opt to sue, the court may compel Sebastian to account for the profits he made through selling the tickets.
Sebastian commits the offense of theft (or the common law offense of larceny) when he takes the photocopier papers and colored markers home for his children to use. The common law offense of larceny is codified under the Theft Act 1968, and is referred to as theft. It is committed when a person carries away another person’s property intending to permanently deprive the person of the property (Philip et. al., 2012). The person committing larceny must have custody over the property as opposed to possession (Jerome, 2005). Ideally it involves the trespass to property. Accordingly, the person does not have title to the property, but has limited right of use over the property (Philip et. al., 2012). Custody also means that the person has little judgment over how the property is used. The key elements of are the taking away of the property and the intent to deprive.
Taking or carrying away involves movement of the property from its original place. This is through direct physical asportation of the property by the person, or indirect asportation where the person acts through a third party (Philip et. al., 2012). The intent to deprive permanently on the other hand requires the person taking to have the intention of using the property at the exclusion of the owner or the person legally entitled to use the property. This intent falls within the scope of traditional criminal intent, otherwise referred to as the mens rea. Other important elements include the property being tangible and of ascertainable economic value (Jerome, 2005).
Therefore, Sebastian has committed theft within the meaning of section 1 of the Theft Act by taking the stationery. Firstly, the photocopier papers and colored markers are not his, thus they are not in his possession as they belong to the Bank for use by all employees. Moreover, the papers are for use in photocopying and the markers are for the sales people. Therefore, Sebastian has no or very little discretion over how they should be used, thus taking them for his own use constitutes trespass to the property. Secondly, by taking the photocopier papers and colored markers home, Sebastian moves them from their original place; which is direct asportation.
Thirdly, since he intends that the photocopier papers and colored markers be used by his children, he forms the intent to permanently deprive the Bank, and by extension the employees, the stationery. Moreover, he does not intent to return them, which further shows permanent deprivation. Fourthly, the papers and markers have an ascertainable economic value. Consequently, Sebastian may be prosecuted for theft. Under section 7of the Theft Act, the offense is punishable by imprisonment to a term not exceeding 7 years.
Key elements are the intent to deprive and the conversion of the property by a person with legal possession. Unlike in theft, the embezzler need not have a permanent intent to deprive, what is required is the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property fraudulently. This intent is invariably concealed through falsification of records but becomes latent upon conversion of the property (Howard, 1997). Conversion means the property is put to unauthorized use.
Accordingly, Sebastian has embezzled the Bank’s property. Firstly, he has possession of the computers, as he has authority over them. Secondly, the computers are meant to be used in his floor, and by having the computer delivered to his wife he has converted the computer’s use. The fraudulent conversion is depicted by changing the contract without the consent or knowledge of the Bank. Thirdly, by changing the contract to benefit his wife, Sebastian shows the intent to deprive the Bank. The intent is further evidenced by the fact that he actually never uses the computer himself. Had he used the computer, perhaps it would have been arguable that he did not intent to deprive the Bank.
Accordingly, Sebastian may be prosecuted for embezzlement. Though the maximum sentence varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the offense is a felony. Sebastian may thus be imprisoned. The court may require restitution of the embezzled property or payment of its monetary equivalent, either in installments or lamp sum. Where payment is ordered, the convict may not be released until full payment is made.
Searches and the confession
The powers of search are stipulated under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 (PACE) as read together with the Act’s Code of Practice B (City University, 2008). Under these laws, searches may be conducted with a warrant or without a warrant. Sections 17 and 32 confer wide powers of search, and mostly relate to conducting searches during arrests. Section 8 deals with warrants of search, which are issued by a justice of peace. Search warrants mostly apply to premises or places for which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Even though a person subjected to an illegal search may make a complaint, any evidence acquired through the search is still admissible. In Jeffrey v. Black the court held that evidence illegally obtained through a search is admissible in evidence. However, section 78 gives discretion to the trial court to exclude such evidence. For the court to exercise this discretion, the accused must convince the court that the admission of the evidence may prejudice the right to a fair trial.
Consequently, the search in the street is reasonable; because under section 17 a person may be searched during an arrest. Therefore, any evidence obtained from this search is admissible. Searches in Sebastian’s home and office are however illegal, as they were conducted without a search warrant. Consequently, any evidence obtained in the search may be excluded under section 78. The confession may also be inadmissible as it was obtained in furtherance of an illegal search. Sebastian has to convince the court that the confession was precipitated by the illegal search as he wanted to avoid further embarrassment. Had the search been conducted in a reasonable manner, he would not have confessed. Further he may argue that being searched in front of his colleagues was a kind of oppression thus the confession should be inadmissible under section 76.
Attorney General’s Reference (No.3 of 2003)  EWCA Crim 868.
Colin, N. QC., Tim, D., Alan, B., and John, H., 2011. Corruption and Misuse of Public Office.
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Frank, E.C., 2012. Malfeasance in Office. NY : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Howard, E.W., 1997. Investigating White-Collar Crime: Embezzlement and Finacial Fraud, 2nd
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Jeffrey v. Black  QB 490.
Jennifer, D., 2010. Why the U.K. Should Have a Law Against Misappropriation. Cambridge
Jerome, H., 2005. General Principles of Criminal Law, 2nd ed. New Jersey: The Lawbook
Exchange Limited. Print.
Philip, C., Lisa, N., and Ragan, D., 2012. An Introduction to Criminal Law. MA: Jones &
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R. v. Rembridge (1783) 3 Doug 327.