Our constabularies have more than enough to attend to without becoming embroiled in property title (ownership) disputes and complaints. So why are they?
There are occasions when property, believed or suspected to have been stolen needs to be seized and powers exist for this to occur. But since the 70’s (at least) a probationary officer may well be warned about the ‘3 P’s’; property, prisoners and prostitutes … for a hassle-free life, avoid them!
Take an item of property from someone and you are now joined into its chain of possession and likely between parties who both want it. On one side, there may be the thief who took it, desperately pleading their innocence, on the other side the victim who wishes to be reunited with the property. The law with regard to STOLEN property is relatively straightforward* – ‘nemo dat quod non habet’; the principle that a person who does not own property, especially a thief, cannot confer it on another except with the true owner’s authority.
But what if the property was not STOLEN, what if it was taken from a victim by FRAUD. Does fortune favour the defrauded?
Consider the scenario described here.
*if the law can ever be described as such