R v Brooks (1983) 76 Cr App R 66

Making off without payment contrary to section 3(1) Theft Act 1968, direction to jury, given ordinary meaning.


A father and daughter ate in the upstairs room of a restaurant together with another man. The daughter left the restaurant early in a rush. The father and the other man left the restaurant without paying for their meal and they were convicted of making off without payment contrary to section 3(1) Theft Act 1968. The father and daughter appealed against their conviction on the basis that the trial judge had misdirected the jury.


To be convicted of the offence of making off without payment under section 3(1) Theft Act 1968, the jury must be satisfied that the defendant dishonestly makes off from the point where he knows payment is required of him for services he has received. The recorder in this case correctly directed the jury that dishonestly making off without payment in this context should be given its ordinary meaning and it is for the jury to decide, given the facts of the case before them, whether the defendant has dishonestly made off without payment. It is not necessary for the defendant to have departed by stealth or to have run away to satisfy the necessary elements of the offence because it is irrelevant how the departure is conducted.


The father’s conviction was upheld as the recorder had not misdirected the jury when advising them that dishonestly making off should be considered to have its ordinary natural meaning. The daughter’s conviction was quashed, however, because the jury had not been advised of her possible defence that she had left the restaurant earlier expecting her father to pay.