• In the case of Dawson 1977 64 cr app r 170, it was held that a mere “nudging” can amount to force under s.8 Theft Act 1968 and is a question of fact for the jury.

Facts of the Case

  • The appellants were convicted of robbery.
  • The victim gave evidence that he had been nudged and pushed off balance and that while he was trying to keep his balance his wallet had been stollen.
  • It was then submitted on the appellant’s behalf that what was alleged did not amount to force within the meaning of s.8(1) of the Theft Act

Issues in Dawson 1977 64 cr app r 170

  • Were the jury directed correctly with regards to the term “force”

Held by Court of Appeal

  • Appeal dismissed

Lawton LJ

  • It was held that the question as to whether, on the evidence, force had been used to further theft, had properly been left to the jury.
  • “Whether it was right for him to put that adjective before the word “force” when Parliament had not done so we will not discuss for the purposes of this case. It was a matter for the jury. They were there to use their common sense and knowledge of the world. We cannot say that their decision as to whether force was used was wrong. They were entitled to the view that force was used.
  • Other points were discussed in the case as to whether the force had been used for the purpose of distracting the victim’s attention or whether it was for the purpose of overcoming resistance. Those sorts of refinements may have been relevant under the old law, but so far as the new law is concerned the sole question is whether the accused used force on any person in order to steal. That issue in this case was left to the jury. They found in favour of the Crown.
  • We cannot say that this verdict was either unsafe or unsatisfactory. Accordingly the appeal is dismissed.”