Receiving Stolen Property in Western Australia

Receiving stolen property is a criminal offence in Western Australia. It is contained in section 417 of the Criminal Code Amendment (Unlawful Possession) Act 2014. This offence carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment. This page deals with receiving stolen property in Western Australia.

What is receiving stolen property?

The offence of receiving stolen property occurs when a person knowingly possesses or receives goods that have been stolen from another person. This type of crime involves acquiring stolen items from an original thief or from a third party while being aware that the items are stolen.

The offence of receiving stolen property can take many forms, including accepting stolen goods as a gift, purchasing stolen items from a thief or from a person who has bought stolen property to sell it, or taking possession of stolen property without paying for it. In some cases, a person can be charged with receiving stolen property even if they did not know that the items were stolen at the time that they acquired them.

It is important to note that receiving stolen property is distinct from stealing or robbery. The key difference is that in receiving stolen property, the person did not steal the items themselves but instead received or possessed stolen items that had been unlawfully taken by someone else. However, the consequences of this crime can be just as severe, with many jurisdictions imposing substantial fines and even jail time for those convicted of receiving stolen property.

Elements of the offence

To prove that an individual is guilty of receiving stolen property, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  1. The property was stolen or obtained by fraud or deception
  2. The accused received, possessed, disposed of or dealt with the property
  3. The accused knew or had reasonable grounds to believe that the property was stolen.

Penalties for receiving stolen property

The penalties for receiving stolen property in Western Australia vary depending on which court deals with the matter.

If the matter is dealt with as a simple offence in the Magistrates Court, the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment or a fine of $24,000.

If the matter is dealt with as a crime in the District Court, the maximum penalty is seven years imprisonment.

Defences to receiving stolen property

There are several defences available to a charge of receiving stolen property. Some of the most common defences include:

Lack of knowledge

If the accused did not know or suspect that the property was stolen, they are not guilty of an offence.  


If the accused was forced to acquire or possess the stolen property, they may have a defence to the charge.

Mistake of fact

If the accused genuinely believed the property was not stolen, they may have a defence to the charge.

What to do if you have been charged with receiving stolen property

If you have been charged with receiving stolen property, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, the possible penalties, and any defences available. They can also represent you in court, negotiate a plea bargain, contest the charges or challenge the admissibility of evidence  against you.

The Go To Court Lawyers Legal Hotline 1300 636 846 is open 7am-Midnight 7 days a week and can provide you with the legal advice you need to navigate the criminal justice system.


Michelle Makela

Michelle Makela is a Legal Practice Director at Go To Court Lawyers. She holds a Juris Doctor, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master of Criminology. She was admitted to practice in 2006. Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning. 
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