What are the best defences to a charge for possession of stolen property?

>>>What are the best defences to a charge for possession of stolen property?

While there are a number of excellent defences to a charge for possession of stolen property, the best defence for charges will depend heavily on the circumstances of your case. That being said, in order to find the best defence for your possession of stolen property charges contact one of our criminal defence lawyers as soon as possible. Using our considerable experience with possession offences, we will review the evidence against you and we will be able to determine the most effective way to defend or resolve your matter. However, some common and strong defences to possession of stolen property charges include:

You did not have the mens rea required to be guilty of this offence:

One effective way to defend a possession of stolen property charge is to argue that you did not have the mens rea, or the ‘guilty mind’ required for this offence.

You may be able to argue that you did not have the mens rea required to be found guilty of this offence because you did not know that the property was stolen. It is entirely possible that you purchase property from a friend or another person without knowing that the item was stolen. In such a situation, even though you were in possession of stolen property in a strict sense, you would not have the criminal intent required to be convicted of the offence. However, in order for you to raise this defence you cannot have been wilfully blind to the fact that you possessed stolen property. For example, if you purchased the property from someone in highly suspicious circumstances or in circumstances where the average, reasonable person would readily ascertain that the property was stolen, it is likely that you will have a difficult time proving that you innocently acquired the property.

Note that if the property was a vehicle that had a partially or wholly tampered VIN, to use this defence you will also have to overcome the automatic presumption that you knew the vehicle was stolen. That is, in the Criminal Code there is a legal presumption that where the VIN to a vehicle has been altered in some way, it is automatically presumed to be proof that that you had the vehicle in your possession while knowing that it was obtained through the commission of a crime.

There is insufficient evidence for you to be found guilty of this crime beyond a reasonable doubt:

It is often the case that the Crown Prosecutor will attempt to prove that you are guilty of possession of stolen property using only circumstantial evidence. However, in order for you to be convicted of a crime on circumstantial evidence alone, the Crown will have a high burden to meet: they will have to prove that the only inference that can be drawn from the evidence presented at trial is that you are guilty of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. As such, a skilled criminal defence lawyer can defend you by poking holes in the narrative presented by the Crown, and by excluding evidence from your trial through Charter motions and successful orders for exclusion.

That is, if one or more of the rights guaranteed to you under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was violated while the police were investigating you for the offence, you may have grounds to make a Charter motion and ask for the exclusion of some of the evidence gathered against you. Some examples of the rights that can be violated during the course of an investigation include your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, your right to full disclosure, or your right to counsel. If some of the evidence that was gathered against you has a strong connection to the Charter violation, that evidence might be excluded from trial. As a result of the exclusion, there may be insufficient evidence to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt.

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All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

We offer flexible payment options and structures designed to meet our clients’ individual needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards, bank drafts, money orders, email money transfers (e-transfers) and, of course, cash.

If you decide to retain us after the free initial consultation, all we need is a retainer (down payment) to get started. The rest of the fee payments for the case can be spaced out over time. We can set you up on a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan, and process payments over the telephone or by email to make it easy for you.

The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.