Criminal Law Defence – Claim Of Right

There are occasions when the charge against you for a crime might be defendable. Perhaps you have a reason for your actions, it was defence, mental illness, you were not in control of yourself and so on. In these kinds of cases having a skilled and experienced criminal Melbourne lawyer is crucial to successfully defending yourself. If you have a legitimate reason for the actions you are being charged for you will need to prove this. Present this as a defence to the court and you could be found not guilty. There are a number of different defences that can work and here we look at Claim of Right.

Looking more closely at the defence Claim of Right

This defence from criminal lawyers Melbourne is for when the charge is for larceny or something connected to larceny, brake and entering, property offences, robbery for example. Your defence is that you took the property with a genuine belief that you had a legal entitlement to it. The following principles must apply;

  1. Whether or not the claim is founded in the law and fact, it must be held genuinely
  2. The claim must involve having the right to money or property that was in someone else’s hands
  3. There must be a belief in a real legal entitlement to the property taken, not just a moral right to it
  4. When the claim is genuine it can be a defense Melbourne lawyer to a crime such as assault when taking the property involved such actions, or the use of a gun, the belief needs to be in the right legally to the property not to the right to use such methods to take it
  5. The claim of right is not just limited to certain money or property the claimant once held, but could in some cases also extend to something taken that was their equivalent value, perhaps taking something to hold in safekeeping or as security to having their actually property returned to them, though this would not work if the claimant took the items with the intention of selling them
  6. A claim of right needs to be proven by criminal lawyers Melbourne to the jury’s satisfaction
  7. If the offender is an accessory to the larceny charges then the principal offender needs to make the claim of right defence and that would also work as the accessory’s defence unless the person who is the accessory actually intentionally aided and counselling the principal offender into performing a crime
  8. The claim of right must cover the whole amount of money or property taken, if the accused has taken more than what they believe to be theirs then they cannot defend based on claim of right


With expert and experienced criminal lawyers any person has a far better chance at building a defence against any criminal charges. In the case of Claim of Right, it is possible to be found not guilty if your lawyers prove their argument in court.

Bio – McNally & Gleeson Lawyers is a leading Melbourne criminal law firm. Established in 1994, and formally Michael J Gleeson & Associates, we specialise in all police and criminal matters and pride ourselves on our persevering commitment to our clients. We represent our clients in police and criminal charges from bail applications through to plea hearings, contested criminal trials and final appeals.

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By Cary Grant

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