Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001
Theft and Related Offences
4.—(1) Subject to section 5 , a person is guilty of theft if he or she dishonestly appropriates property without the consent of its owner and with the intention of depriving its owner of it.
(2) For the purposes of this section a person does not appropriate property without the consent of its owner if—
(a) the person believes that he or she has the owner's consent, or would have the owner's consent if the owner knew of the appropriation of the property and the circumstances in which it was appropriated, or
(b) (except where the property came to the person as trustee or personal representative) he or she appropriates the property in the belief that the owner cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps,
but consent obtained by deception or intimidation is not consent for those purposes.
(3) (a) This subsection applies to a person who in the course of business holds property in trust for, or on behalf of, more than one owner.
(b) Where a person to whom this subsection applies appropriates some of the property so held to his or her own use or benefit, the person shall, for the purposes of subsection (1) but subject to subsection (2), be deemed to have appropriated the property or, as the case may be, a sum representing it without the consent of its owner or owners.
(c) If in any proceedings against a person to whom this subsection applies for theft of some or all of the property so held by him or her it is proved that—
(i) there is a deficiency in the property or a sum representing it, and
(ii) the person has failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for the whole or any part of the deficiency,
it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, for the purposes of subsection (1) but subject to subsection (2), that the person appropriated, without the consent of its owner or owners, the whole or that part of the deficiency.
(4) If at the trial of a person for theft the court or jury, as the case may be has to consider whether the person believed—
(a) that he or she had not acted dishonestly, or
(b) that the owner of the property concerned had consented or would have consented to its appropriation, or
(c) that the owner could not be discovered by taking reasonable steps,
the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for such a belief is a matter to which the court or jury shall have regard, in conjunction with any other relevant matters, in considering whether the person so believed.
(5) In this section—
“appropriates”, in relation to property, means usurps or adversely interferes with the proprietary rights of the owner of the property;
“depriving” means temporarily or permanently depriving.
(6) A person guilty of theft is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.