LC Paper No. CB(2)1531/98-99(01)
Theft (Amendment) Bill 1998
Proposed Offence of "Fraud"
Response to the Request from the Bills Committee
At the meeting of the Bills Committee held in the morning of 9 March 1999, we put forward a revised proposal, i.e. retaining the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud and redefining the terms "benefit" and "prejudice" under the Bill so that they will refer to "financial or proprietary gain or loss" and to "a breach of public duty".
2. Members of the Bills Committee, however, were of the view that there would be relatively few cases of "breach of public duty" which would not be prosecutable under other offences. Members did not find it necessary to create an offence of fraud to cover financial or proprietary gain or loss and "breach of public duty". The Administration was requested to reconsider the three options put forward by the Bills Committee during the meeting held on 11 February 1999.
3. The Administration has carefully considered the views expressed by members of the Bills Committee during the last meeting. The Administration is prepared to accept the second option put forward by the Bills Committee, i.e. to restrict the proposed new offence of fraud to circumstances in which there is financial or proprietary loss or gain and to retain the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud.
4. The Administration considers that the second option put forward by the Bills Committee may implement the major aspects of the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission in that the new offence of fraud is confined to circumstances in which there is financial or proprietary loss or gain. By retaining the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud, cases in which no deceit is involved may be dealt with under the common law offence.
Department of Justice