(1) A person's conduct
is "dishonest" if the person acts dishonestly according to the standards of
ordinary people and knows that he or she is so acting.
(2) The question
whether a defendant's conduct was dishonest according to the standards of
ordinary people is a question of fact to be decided according to the jury's
own knowledge and experience and not on the basis of evidence of those
(3) A defendant's
willingness to pay for property involved in an alleged offence of dishonesty
does not necessarily preclude a finding of dishonesty.
(4) A person does not
act dishonestly if the person—
finds property; and
keeps or otherwise deals with it in the belief that the identity or
whereabouts of the owner cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps; and
not under a legal or equitable obligation with which the retention of the
property is inconsistent.
(5) The conduct of a
person who acts in a particular way is not dishonest if the person honestly
but mistakenly believes that he or she has a legal or equitable right to act
in that way.
A takes an umbrella violently from B honestly but mistakenly believing that B
has stolen A's umbrella and that A is entitled to use force to get it back. In
fact, it belongs to B. A is charged with robbery. A cannot be properly
convicted on this charge because of his honest but mistaken belief (however
unreasonable). However, he may still be guilty of an assault.
(6) A person who
asserts a legal or equitable right to property that he or she honestly
believes to exist does not, by so doing, deal dishonestly with the property.
A takes an umbrella violently from B honestly believing that the umbrella
belongs to A and that A is entitled to possession of the umbrella (but knowing
that she is not entitled to use force to get it back). The assertion of that
possessory right (whether or not correctly founded in law) is not dishonest
(and therefore cannot amount to theft) although the means used to get the
umbrella back may well amount to some other offence.