Previous Topic

Next Topic

Book Contents

Book Index

7.5.8.1 – Charge: Carjacking

Click here to obtain a Word version of this document

[This charge can be used where one or more elements of the offence are in issue. If the only issue relied upon by the accused, or raised by the evidence, is that the accused was not the offender, this charge should be adapted. See Charge: Robbery (Short) for guidance on possible adaptions.]

The Elements

I must now direct you about the crime of carjacking. To prove this crime, the prosecution must prove the following 3 elements beyond reasonable doubt:

One - the accused committed theft of a vehicle.

Two - immediately before or at the time of the theft, the accused either:

Three - the accused acted in that way in order to commit the theft.

I will now explain each of these elements in more detail.[1]

Theft

The first element that the prosecution must prove is that the accused committed theft of a vehicle. In order to do this, the prosecution must prove four things.[2]

First, they must prove that the accused appropriated property that belonged to another person. Although the word "appropriation" has a technical legal meaning, and includes many different types of acts, here it simply means to take something without the owner’s consent.

In this case, the prosecution alleged that NOA took [identify vehicle] that belonged to [identify owner]. [Summarise prosecution evidence and/or arguments]. The defence denied this, arguing [insert defence evidence and/or arguments].

Second, the prosecution must prove that the property was a "vehicle". There is no dispute that [identify vehicle] is a vehicle.[3]

Third, the prosecution must prove that, when the accused appropriated the vehicle, s/he intended to permanently deprive the owner of it. That is, s/he intended that the owner would never get it back.

For this offence, the law states that the prosecution can prove an intention to permanently deprive by showing that the accused took or used the vehicle without the consent of the owner.

[Identify prosecution evidence and/or arguments.]

Fourth, the prosecution must prove that, at the time of the appropriation, the accused was acting dishonestly. In this context, "dishonesty" does not have its ordinary meaning. It is given a special legal meaning, which says that the accused will have acted dishonestly if, when s/he took the vehicle, s/he did not believe that s/he had a legal right to take it.

In this case there is no evidence that the accused believed s/he had a legal right to take the vehicle. So if you are satisfied that NOA took the vehicle, you should have no difficulty finding this requirement proven.

It is for you to determine, based on all the evidence, whether NOA committed theft of a vehicle. This will only be the case if you are satisfied that all four of the requirements I have just outlined have been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Force or fear of force

The second element that the prosecution must prove is that, immediately before or at the time of the theft, the accused either:

In this case the prosecution alleged that NOA [identify relevant ground[s] and people involved, eg, "used force against NOC"] when s/he [describe relevant conduct]. The defence denied this, arguing [describe defence evidence and/or arguments].

[If it is alleged that the accused put, or sought to put, a person in fear, add the following shaded section.]

You will note that it is not enough for the prosecution to prove that NOA put, or sought to put, NOC in fear that force was going be used on him/her/NO3P[4] at some distant or uncertain time. To prove this element on the basis of the threatened use of force, the prosecution must prove that NOA put, or sought to put, NOC in fear that force was going to be used on him/her/NO3P then and there.

You will also note that, while this element will be met if you are satisfied that NOC was actually fearful that such force was going to be used, this is not necessary. This element will be met if the prosecution can prove that NOA sought to put NOC in fear, even if that attempt was unsuccessful.

Conduct was committed "in order" to steal

The third element that the prosecution must prove is that the accused acted in the way s/he did in order to commit the theft of the vehicle. That is, NOA must have [used force on NOC / put NOC in fear of the use of force / sought to put NOC in fear of the use of force] for the purpose of stealing the vehicle, rather than for another reason.

[Insert any relevant evidence and/or arguments.]

Summary

To summarise, before you can find NOA guilty of carjacking, the prosecution must prove to you, beyond reasonable doubt:

One - that NOA committed theft of a vehicle, by dishonestly appropriating a vehicle that belonged to another person, intending to permanently deprive the owner of that vehicle; and

Two - that immediately before or at the time of the theft, NOA either:

Three – that NOA acted in this way in order to commit the theft of the vehicle.

If you find that any of these elements have not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, then you must find NOA not guilty of carjacking.

Notes

[1] - If an element is not in issue it should not be explained in full. Instead, the element should be explained briefly, and followed by an instruction such as: “It is [admitted / not disputed] that NOA [describe conduct, state of mind or circumstances that meet the element], and you should have no difficulty finding this element proven.”

[2] - This part of the charge is designed for use in cases where the theft element does not raise any technical issues. If such issues do arise, the charge should be adapted or expanded accordingly. Guidance can be obtained from Charge: Theft (Extended).

[3] - If the nature of the property as a vehicle is in issue, or if the jury might be surprised that the relevant property is a vehicle (e.g. a house boat), this direction should be expanded.

[4] - Name of third party.

Last updated: 9 March 2017

See Also

7.5.8 – Carjacking

7.5.8.2 – Checklist: Carjacking