Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

The offence of possession of property obtained by crime is outlined in section 354(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of possession of property obtained by crime when they have any property or proceeds from property, knowing that the property or proceeds were obtained through the commission of a criminal offence.

Examples

Person A keeps the money they obtained from selling several valuables they stole from person B.

Person C gives person D several gold chains that person C stole from a jewellery store while on vacation in Italy. Person D is aware the chains were stolen and accepts them anyway.

Cases

R. v. Wetelainen, 2019 ONSC 869

In R. v. Wetelainen, the accused was convicted of two counts of possession of property obtained by crime when he was found by police in his friend’s house with a hammer and $175.00 in cash that he was trying to steal from the house.

R. v. Adair, 2011 ONSC 7360

In R. v. Adair, the accused was convicted of one count of possession of property obtained by crime when he was found in a stolen ATV that he had used to escape after taking a cell phone out of someone’s hands.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

No Knowledge

Where the person does not know that the property or proceeds they have in their possession were obtained by crime, they may not have completed the offence of possession of property obtained by crime. It is important to note that an individual cannot be willfully blind as to whether property is stolen.

Person C purchases a vehicle from person D after seeing an ad on a popular used car website. Person C is provided with all necessary paperwork and has no indication that the sale is not legitimate. Person C later finds out the vehicle is stolen, and the paperwork was forged. Person C is not guilty of possession of property obtained by crime because he was not aware that the vehicle was stolen.

No Crime

Where the property or proceeds were not obtained or derived by crime, but were obtained in some other legitimate way, the person who has them has not completed the offence of possession of property obtained by crime.

No Possession

Where the person does not know about or control the property or proceeds obtained by crime, they may not have completed the offence of possession of property obtained by crime.

For example, if jewellery stolen by person A was then hidden in person B’s backpack without person B knowing about this, they may not have completed the offence of possession of property obtained by crime.

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