It is a Wednesday morning. You are rostered to work with Cst Michelle Fuller as a first response general duties car crew. You are both in full uniform and driving a marked police vehicle.
When the garage door is almost closed, it strikes a bag of potting mix Tobin inadvertently left propped against the door the night before. A sensor on the door causes it to return to the fully open position.
About 10:30 hrs, Ryan Radford, 15, who lives with his parents in the house directly opposite Tobin’s, is sitting in his lounge room watching tv. His parents and Tobin are close friends. At this time, he sees a young man enter the garage and knock on the internal door. The young man then opens the door and goes inside the residence. Radford assumes he is a friend of Tobin’s son.
About 10 minutes later, Radford notices the young man walk out of the garage carrying Tobin’s recently purchased blower vac. He assumes the young man has permission to borrow it. However, as the young man walks away, Radford notices the internal door inside the garage has been left wide open. This prompts him to call Tobin on her mobile. She tells him that her son is away and that nobody should be inside her house or taking her blower vac. Tobin tells Radford that she is calling the police and will return home immediately.
Radford runs out to the street and sees the young man placing the blower vac into the boot of a small red hatchback parked quite some distance up the road. Radford starts recording a video on his mobile. The young man gets into the driver’s seat, makes a u-turn and drives back past Radford at speed and quickly disappears from view.
About 10:50 hrs, you and Cst Fuller arrive at the location just as Tobin is getting out of her car. After introducing yourselves, you walk over to the garage and Tobin immediately realises why the door did not shut properly. She explains this to you.
You enter the garage and Tobin confirms her Ryobi rechargeable blower vac is missing from where it hangs on the back wall. The charger has also been taken but not the spare battery or the box the blower vac came in. You record the model and serial numbers listed on the box as RLT36X4BL and RLT36X4BLA0081889 respectively. Tobin tells you the blower vac , original battery and charger came as a kit for $399. She shows you the electronic receipt from Bunnings, which is still on her phone.
You enter the premises through the open internal door leading into the kitchen/dining room area. Tobin points to a smashed photo frame on the floor and bursts into tears. She tells you it contained an uncirculated Australian one-dollar note, which hung on the wall above the breakfast bar in the kitchen. Tobin explains she was born in Canberra on 11 May 1984, which was also the day the last one-dollar note was printed at the Royal Australian Mint before coins were introduced the following week. The Mint gifted the framed notes to every child born on that day. You examine the broken frame and notice it contains the serial number of the note: DGJ 000001-DPS 9996856. You record this information.
You walk through the house with Tobin and although almost every room has been ransacked, the only other thing Tobin notices missing is her Braun brand electric toothbrush and charger, which has been taken from the en-suite of the master bedroom. Tobin tells you it was a Mother’s Day present from her son. She goes into her wardrobe and returns with the box it came in. You record the details as an Oral-B Genius Series 9000, rose gold in colour, serial number 2674313. Tobin believes her son bought it from the Chemist Warehouse store on special for about $200.
You obtain a statement from Tobin, before covering both sides of the internal door with new plastic garbage bags to preserve the area for fingerprints/DNA. You also record and collect the remnants of the photo frame for forensic assessment.
You then speak to Radford and decide to electronically record his statement on your body worn video. He recounts the above information and describes the young man as being in his late teens to early 20s, Caucasian, about 170 cm in height, thin build, very dark brown or black hair with a ‘man bun’, clean shaven, wearing black knee-length cargo shorts, a light grey short sleeve t-shirt with an orange logo on the front and the brand ‘Stihl’ in orange on the back, and white joggers with either thick lime green shoelaces or lime green colours in the shoe’s tongue area. Radford also noticed he was wearing a multi-coloured bracelet on his right wrist.
Radford sends you a copy of the video he took of the young man driving away in the small red hatch. You immediately recognise the car as a Mazda model 3. The front and rear number plates have been covered with what appears to be black tape, but you can make out they are the standard NSW yellow and black type. The paint on the bonnet is quite faded and there is a dent in the front left mudguard directly above the wheel.
You canvass the neighbours and speak to retiree Angela Merkel at 32 Candlebark Rd. Merkel tells you she did not see or hear anything but has a CCTV system that captures the front of her property including the street. It shows the red Mazda sedan stopping outside 34 Candlebark Rd at 10:28 hrs. The young male driver (and sole occupant) is as described by Radford. He gets out of the vehicle and heads in the direction of 26 Candlebark Rd, before returning at 10:41 hrs carrying the blower vac. You obtain a copy of the footage.
About 11:50 hrs, you attend Northside Shopping Centre for an unrelated matter. As you approach the car park entrance on Neile St, you see the red Mazda sedan parked and unattended in the car park. You note the registration as BZ-81-MN. A check reveals it is registered to Samuel Ellis, 18, of 31 Davidson Pl, Northside. Ellis has no criminal history, but he and his vehicle are the subject of several very recent intelligence reports relating property theft where his vehicle was seen leaving the vicinity around the time thefts were occurring. Two of the reports relate to thefts from open garages in the last week.
You decide to watch the vehicle and notify VKG accordingly.
About 15 minutes later, you see Ellis walking towards his vehicle. He is still wearing the clothes described by Radford and captured on the video/CCTV. You approach Ellis and, after a brief conversation, carry out a person search. In the left lower pocket of his cargo shorts you locate the one-dollar note stolen from Tobin’s premises and the keys to his car. You complete the search and then caution Ellis. When questioned about the one-dollar note, Ellis tells you, ‘I literally just found it a second ago. It was on the ground as I came out of the shops. I actually thought it was Monopoly money.’
You inform Ellis you are going to search his vehicle. You unlock and open the rear hatch and immediately see Tobin’s blower vac and electric toothbrush. You confirm this by checking the serial numbers. You also notice a partially used roll of black duct tape and a pair of scissors. You then arrest Ellis.
Question 1 — Offences
- Identify the correct offences relating to the stealing of Tobin’s property. Your answer must list the following information—
Section and specific subsection (where applicable)
Elements of the offences
- Write the indictment for each offence.
- Explain and justify why Ellis has committed distinctly different offences.
Question 2 — Arrest
- Was the arrest of Ellis lawful? To properly answer this question, you must explain and justify the following points:
The requirements of section 99(1)(a) of LEPRA.
The requirements of section 99(1)(b) of LEPRA.
The requirements of section 99(3) of LEPRA.
- Explain and justify the safeguards that apply to a lawful arrest.
Question 3 — Electronically recorded statements
- Explain the legislated requirements for taking an electronic statement from Radford.
- Explain the legislated requirements to make the statement an admissible document in your brief of evidence.
Note: Your answer to these questions will require referencing both the relevant Act and the regulations.