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R v Vinall [2011]   EWCA Crim 6252  Court of Appeal

Two youths were riding their bicycles when one of the appellants shouted abuse at one and punched him off his bicycle. He ran off leaving his bicycle. The two appellants then chased after him. One of them then went back and took his bicycle. The police were called and the bicycle was found abandoned at a bus shelter 50 yards from where it was taken. They were convicted of robbery and appealed contending that they did not use force in order to steal. The taking of the bicycle was an afterthought. They also argued they had no intention to permanently deprive since they had left the
bicycle in an open place where it could easily be found.



Their convictions were quashed due to a mis-direction. The judge had asked the jury to consider whether the defendants had the intention to permanently deprive at the time they abandoned
the bicycle. Whilst this would be sufficient for a charge of theft, this was not sufficient for robbery.



Pitchford LJ:

“If the charge had been theft only, and the jury was not sure that at the moment of taking the appellants dishonestly appropriated the bicycle with intent (actual or deemed) permanently to deprive, they could next consider whether there was a later appropriation at the time of the abandonment. In that event the question for the jury would be: Did the appellants, when they abandoned the bicycle, (1) assume the rights of an owner, (2) intending permanently to deprive the owner of it or intending to treat the bicycle as their own to dispose of regardless of the other's rights? If so, the offence of theft was committed at the time of the abandonment. This, however, was a charge of robbery. The judge left to the jury the option of concluding that the act of theft was completed not at the time of taking but at the time of abandonment. If the theft was committed only at the moment of abandonment the prosecution case of robbery was fatally undermined. In those circumstances the prosecution could not prove that force or the threat of force was used before or at the time of and in order to steal.”