Theft Act 1978 - Section 1 - Obtaining Services By Deception

Obtaining Services By Deception

This section created the offence of obtaining services by deception. It was repealed on 15 January 2007 by Schedule 3 to the Fraud Act 2006. As amended by the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996, it read:

(1) A person who by any deception dishonestly obtains services from another shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) It is an obtaining of services where the other is induced to confer a benefit by doing some act, or causing or permitting some act to be done, on the understanding that the benefit has been or will be paid for.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2) above, it is an obtaining of services where the other is induced to make a loan, or to cause or permit a loan to be made, on the understanding that any payment (whether by way of interest or otherwise) will be or has been made in respect of the loan.

There must be a deception which, according to section 5(1), has the same meaning as in section 15(4) of the Theft Act 1968, i.e. any deception (whether deliberate or reckless) by words or conduct as to fact or as to law, including a deception as to the present intentions of the person using the deception or any other person. This deception must be the cause of the obtaining (see the discussion on causation in Deception (criminal law) and Obtaining property by deception#By any deception).

The defendant must obtain a service as defined in section 1(2), i.e. the victim must confer a benefit on the defendant (or another). The 'services' must be non-gratuitous, i.e. the benefits must be provided by the victim of the deception in the expectation that they are to be paid for at commercial rates (see section 1(2)). It must be conferred by the doing, causing, or permitting of some act. A failure to act that confers a benefit is not sufficient. Thus, a person who employs a lawyer or accountant without ever intending to pay, may commit an offence under section 1. But a person who lies to a neighbour to secure the loan of a power drill does not commit an offence because the benefit is not obtained on the understanding that it has been or will be paid for. In R v Halai Crim LR 624, CA, the defendant made false statements in an application for a mortgage and thereby obtained a survey, the opening of an account and a mortgage advance. Note that the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996 introduced section 1(3) specifically to provide that a loan amounts to a service. This dispenses with that part of the decision in Halai (which had, in any event, been overruled by R v Graham prior to the Act) As to the opening of an account, contrast R v Shortland Crim LR 893 in which the Court of Appeal held that, on the evidence presented, opening bank accounts under false names did not amount to the section 1 offence, but suggested that it might have done if evidence that it had to be paid for had been presented. The mens rea for all offences is dishonesty.

A person could commit this offence by obtaining services for another person.

As to obtaining of hire-purchase agreements, see R v Widdowson, 82 Cr App R 314, RTR 124, Crim LR 233, CA

The following cases are also relevant:

  • R v Teong Sun Chuah and Teong Tatt Chuah Crim LR 463, CA
  • R v Cooke (David) Crim LR 436, 4 CL 187, 3 Archbold News 2, CA
  • R v Cummings-John Crim LR 660
  • R v Naviede Crim LR 662, CA

Liability for offences by corporations

Section 18 of the Theft Act 1968 applied in relation to this section as it applied in relation to section 15 of the Theft Act 1968.

Mode of trial and sentence

This offence was triable either way. A person guilty of this offence was liable, on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to a fine not exceeding the prescribed sum, or to both.

Read more about this topic:  Theft Act 1978, Section 1

Famous quotes containing the words deception, obtaining and/or services:

    A marriage based on full confidence, based on complete and unqualified frankness on both sides; they are not keeping anything back; there’s no deception underneath it all. If I might so put it, it’s an agreement for the mutual forgiveness of sin.
    Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)

    And if the civilized man’s pursuits are no worthier than the savage’s, if he is employed the greater part of his life in obtaining gross necessaries and comforts merely, why should he have a better dwelling than the former?
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Working women today are trying to achieve in the work world what men have achieved all along—but men have always had the help of a woman at home who took care of all the other details of living! Today the working woman is also that woman at home, and without support services in the workplace and a respect for the work women do within and outside the home, the attempt to do both is taking its toll—on women, on men, and on our children.
    Jeanne Elium (20th century)