Dalzell was charged with theft under s.283 (now s.322) of the Code for stealing from Sobeys. She stole some steaks, cheese and pantyhose, and was caught by a security guard. She explained that she was running a program for troubled youth and that she intended to give the stolen items back to demonstrate to the stores that their current anti-theft programs were not working. She was acquitted at trial and the Crown appealled the decision.
- What does it mean to act "fraudulently" pursuant to s.283 (now s.322) of the Code?
The external elements of this case are easily proven as she took things that did not belong to her. The fault elements are that you must take the things "fraudulently", and that you must not think that the goods are yours or that you have a right to them. There is also a list of things that must be your intention in the action – including depriving the owner either permanently or temporarily, which is the case here. Dalzell does not think that she has a right to the items. The only question is the proper definition of "fraudulently" and whether this applies to the case.
Cooper, writing for the majority, adopts a definition stating that her actions must be "cheating, swindling, committing a wrongdoing, or involve moral turpitude". He decides that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether she is acting fraudulently with this definition, and therefore the acquittal should stand.
Pace, in the dissent, thinks that "fraudulent" merely means knowing that one's actions are wrong, and therefore that she should be convicted.
"Fraudulently" means "cheating, swindling, committing a wrongdoing, or involve moral turpitude"; a high threshold that is required to establish a conviction under the crime of theft.