Burglary: Criminal Law and Effective Entry

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Burglary is an offence under Section 9 of the Thefts Act, which is in 2 separate parts. The first sub section is s9(1)(a) which states “ a person is guilty of burglary if he enters any building or part of a building as a trespasser with the intent to steal, inflict grievous bodily harm, or do unlawful damage to the building or anything in it.” The second part is s9(1)(b) which says “a person is guilty of burglary if having entered a building or part of a building as a trespasser, he steals or attempts to steal anything in the building or inflicts or attempts to inflict grievous bodily harm on any person in the building”. The difference between the two subsections is the intention at the time of entry. For example s9 (1)(a) the defendant must have the intention to steal, cause GBH or do unlawful damage at the time of entry. For s9 (1)(b) what the defendant intends to do is irrelevant the prosecution must prove that the defendant committed or attempted to commit Theft or GBH. So already there are some confusions with whether or not the defendant would be guilty of Burglary under s9(1)(a) or s9(1)(b). Entry is not defined in the Theft Act, but there have been several cases that help us on what the word “Entry” actually means. The first case on Entry was the case of Collins 1972. In this case the defendant had drunk alcohol and decided he wanted to have sex. He saw a window that was open and climbed a ladder so he could have a look in. He saw there was a naked girl inside asleep on her bed. So he went down the ladder took off his clothes and climbed back up it to the girls room. She woke up and thought it was her boyfriend and helped him into the bedroom where they had full intercourse. Collins was convicted on s9(1)(a) as he entered with intention to rape. Before 2004 if someone was entering a building with the intention of rape it would be included in this section, but now it is under the Sexual Offences Act. Collins appealed to his conviction as he said that he...
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