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The Law of Burglary

The Law of Burglary

Burglary is another offence that is set out under s.9 of the Theft Act 1968. Aggravated burglary is set out under s. 10 of the Theft Act 1968. For burglary under s.9, the maximum sentence is 14 years imprisonment in the case of dwellings and 10 years for all other types of buildings. Whereas aggravated burglary carries a more serious sentence of a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.


Burglary under S.9(1)(a) and S.9 (1)(b)


"(1)A person is guilty of burglary if-

(a)he enters any building or part of a building as a trespasser and with intent to commit any such offence as is mentioned in subsection (2) below; or

(b)having entered any building or part of a building as a trespasser he steals or attempts to steal anything in the building or that part of it or inflicts or attempts to inflict on any person therein any grievous bodily harm.

The only difference between the two offences of burglary is that under (a), the intent must be formed at the time of entry whereas (b) the intent to commit the offence can come at a later time.


Aggravated burglary S.10 Theft Act 1978


A person can be guilty of aggravated burglary under s. 10 of the Theft Act of 1978 if he or she commits any burglary with a firearm, imitation firearm or any other weapon or explosive. Depending on the relevant time for possessing the weapon depends on whether it was a section 9(1)(a) or section 9(1)(b) offence. Possession of the weapon will either be at the time of entry or at the time of the ulterior offence being committed. ( R v O'Leary) However, there is no real need to establish that the defendant intended to use the weapon in the burglary. It merely just needs to be shown that they did in fact have a weapon at the time of the crime. ( R v Stones)


Actus reus :


The actus reus of burglary involves the entry as a trespasser to a building or part of a building.


Mens rea :


The defendant must have knowledge that they are a trespasser or be reckless as to whether or not they are trespassing. ( R v Collins) The defendant must also intend to commit the crime in order for mens rea to be present.

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