Theft Act 1978 - Section 2 - Evasion of Liability By Deception

Evasion of Liability By Deception

This section created the offence of evasion of liability by deception. It was repealed on 15 January 2007 by Schedule 3 to the Fraud Act 2006. It read:

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, where a person by any deception
(a) dishonestly secures the remission of the whole or part of any existing liability to make a payment, whether his own liability or another's; or
(b) with intent to make permanent default in whole or in part on any existing liability to make a payment, or with intent to let another do so, dishonestly induces the creditor or any person claiming payment on behalf of the creditor to wait for payment (whether or not the due date for payment is deferred) or to forgo payment; or
(c) dishonestly obtains any exemption from or abatement of liability to make a payment;
he shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) For the purposes of this section 'liability' means legally enforceable liability; and subsection (1) shall not apply in relation to a liability that has not been accepted or established to pay compensation for a wrongful act or omission."
(3) For purposes of subsection (1)(b) a person induced to take in payment a cheque or other security for money by way of conditional satisfaction of a pre-existing liability is to be treated not as being paid but as being induced to wait for payment.
(4) For purposes of subsection (1)(c) "obtains" includes obtaining for another or enabling another to obtain.

Section 2(1) is divided into three parts, all of which require that both a deception caused the obtaining, which may be for oneself or for another, and that there is a legally-enforceable liability. All three also require proof that the creditor is deceived into releasing the defendant from the obligation to pay in some way. (Contrast the previous law represented by Director of Public Prosecutions v Ray which, for policy reasons, held that merely running out of a restaurant without positively deceiving someone was nevertheless an offence.

As to the meaning of the words "with intent to make permanent default in whole or in part of any existing liability to make a payment" in section 2(1)(b), see R v Attewell-Hughes 1 WLR 955, 4 All ER 810, 93 Cr App R 132, Crim LR 437, CA.

See also R v Andrews and Hedges Crim LR 106.

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.

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