Topic: QUESTIONS – PROPERTY OFFENCES CRIMINAL LAW SCENARIO TO READ Arthur Bentley is 39 years of age. He is a bank teller at the Bank of Bogong. It is a small family owned bank with 33 branches in Queensland and the Nor
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Arthur Bentley is 39 years of age. He is a bank teller at the Bank of Bogong. It is a small family owned bank with 33 branches in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Arthur is married to Margie Bentley who is aged 34. She has 2 brothers Garth and Vilius Wonk. They are twins aged 31. They have been in considerable trouble with the law. Garth has served 2 terms of imprisonment for burglary and is reputed to be the best pickpocket in the Smith Street Mall. Vilius is a fraudster. His specialty is selling jam that he claims has restorative powers. Allegedly the jam will cure heart disease, remove warts and prevent hair loss. Vilius has been jailed in Darwin, Sydney, Hong Kong and London for fraud arising out of his dealings with jam. It turns out the product is simply common strawberry jam re-labeled WONK CURE or some other catchy name.
The Wonk brothers are now both out of jail and living in Darwin. They shift around constantly, but eat many meals with their sister and brother-in-law.
Margie and Arthur live in Parap in a house they are purchasing and they have 2 children, a boy 7 and a girl 5. Their marriage is reasonably happy, but Arthur has a problem with alcohol. He has failed to make progress at the bank. He sees his future as being a long desolate road to early retirement. The manager of the city branch of the Bank of Bogong is an unpleasant young man who has always treated Arthur disrespectfully. Arthur feels badly done by.
When Arthur is under the influence he often becomes garrulous and loud. He has no interests outside of his family, the bottom of a bottle and his work so he will regale anybody who cares to listen with real and imagined slights he has received at work.
One night when the Wonk brothers are at the Bentley home, Arthur tells the story of an argument that he had that very day with his manager over the arrival of a large load of cash from head office. The manager had warned Arthur that he must walk with the guards from their van to the vault and only open the vault when the guards are at the door of the vault. The money was to be then counted and a receipt given to the two deliverers. ‘It is bulldust’ Arthur said, ‘the key is kept in an unlocked drawer. The manager is a bludger’.
The Wonk brothers are fascinated by the story. ‘So this money comes in every week’, asks Garth. Arthur replies that the delivery is the wages money for 5 large factories. The delivery is every second Wednesday afternoon and the money is picked up by cashiers on the following morning.
‘So the money is there overnight’, says Garth.
“Oh yes’, replies Arthur, ‘upwards of $230,000 every second Wednesday”.
‘I guess there is a pretty good alarm system’, asks Vilius.
“What, are you thinking of knocking the place off’ asks Arthur, with apparent humour.
Margie has heard the conversation and is worried. She knows what her brothers are capable of. She tries to change the subject.
Arthur ignores her and with some apparent relish complains about the second rate alarm system that is installed at the bank. ‘Cut the power at the Mains and the Alarm will not work. If I have told Billy [Billy Bruce the manager] once, I have told him a thousand times, but he will not listen to me’.
It takes little persuasion for Arthur to tell his brothers-in-law that the key to the vault is in the desk drawer immediately next to the vault door and the money is kept in 5 leather pouches that are usually sitting on the vault floor.
The party breaks up. The family have been sitting on the back porch of their home enjoying the Darwin twilight. Doris Blenkinsop next door has been sitting in her back yard. She has heard and absorbed every word.
Exactly two weeks later the Bank of Bogong is robbed. The electricity has been cut and the alarm de-activated. The back door was jemmied open and five bags of payroll have been stolen. The vault was then re-locked and the key was put back in place.
$217,000 in notes have been stolen. There is no forensic evidence that leads to a suspect. However the Bank knows the serial numbers of the notes and these are distributed to other banks and supermarkets. Many of the bills are $100 and therefore are not so commonly used.
Billy Bruce is fired. Arthur is promoted to Manager. He instigates stringent new security arrangements, but then three things happen. Garth Wonk is arrested for possession of a stolen laptop computer. His house is searched and a note found that reads ‘cut wire to mains, key in drawer’. Garth gives no explanation for the note. He exercises his right to refuse to answer any questions. Secondly Vilius is arrested when a liquor store in Belconnen finds a $100 bill that is part of the robbery. The manager of the store says that the only $100 in the till was given to him by Vilius who purchased a bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon that day. He knows Vilius well. He is one of 3 customers of the shop who regularly buy Wild Turkey. Finally Doris Blenkinsop goes to the police with her detailed account of the conversation she overheard. The police had been interested in the Wonk brothers. Bank robberies were a little out of their usual modus operandi, but Doris’s account clarified things for the police.
The police continue to seek to gather evidence and find a witness who saw a tan Honda Civic with 2 men in it driving slowly in the vicinity of the Bank at 11.30 pm on the night the bank was robbed. Garth owns a tan Honda Civic.
The police arrest Arthur Bentley as well.
A – Advise the police what charges should be laid against Garth, Vilius and Arthur.
B – Advise Garth of his legal position
C – Advise Vilius of his legal position
D – Advise Arthur of his legal position
The matter is before the Magistrate. Committal proceedings are to be heard and the Defence wishes to argue that the case should be dismissed.
A – Provide a spokesperson who will argue for Arthur that there is no case to answer
B – Argue similarly for Vilius
C – Argue similarly for Garth
D – Present the prosecution rebuttal
Group discussion of the elements of theft, including a consideration of the meaning of the word ‘unlawfully’ within the N.T. Code.

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