R v Clouden [1987] Crim LR 56

Robbery contrary to section 8(1) Theft Act 1968, is use of force on a person a pre-requisite.

Facts

The defendant approached the victim from behind whilst she was carrying a shopping basket in her left hand. He wrenched the basket down from her grasp and ran off with it. The defendant was convicted of robbery under section 8(1) Theft Act 1968 and appealed against his conviction claiming the wrenching of the basket did not constitute the use of force on any person and, therefore, the trial judge’s direction to the jury regarding the use of force was deficient.

Issues

Robbery is an aggravated type of theft and so proof of a theft is necessary together with the use of force on any person immediately before or at the time of the theft under section 8(1) Theft Act 1968. The defendant’s argument that the wrenching of the basket could not amount to the use of force on any person was rejected by the Court of Appeal. There is no distinction to be found between the use of force on a person and the use of force to property which causes force to the person. The question of whether force has been applied is a question of fact for the jury to decide. It was open to the jury to find that the wrenching of a shopping basket from the victim’s hand amounted to the requisite use of force to constitute the offence of robbery.

Held

The defendant’s conviction for robbery was upheld. The wrenching of a basket from a victim’s hand could constitute the requisite use of force under section 8(1) Theft Act 1968.