Feinberg’s inhere in any theft because theft “attack[s] one’s

Feinberg’s harm principle states that preventing serious harm to others is a valid prima facie reason to prohibit conduct. Harm is a broad concept which need not involve any physical component, as it is merely a setback to one’s legal interests.  However, a harm within the principle is restricted to one that not only constitutes a set-back to one’s interests, but also constitutes a wrong to the person.  For Feinberg, theft is a good example of a criminal law justified by the harm principle. Theft may be considered a crime based on interference with property rights, which could be argued amounts to harm. The interpretation given by the House of Lords in Hinks identifies a harm beyond mere property rights and a notion of moral wrongness attached to that harm, justifying the need to criminalise such appropriation. In terms of the harm principle, the harmed condition is the appropriation of property through receipt of a gift, and the wrong is constituted by the accused acting deliberately and with intention to deprive. The harm is, thus, derived from the wrong as the defendant interferes with the victim’s proprietary rights. Harm can be seen to inhere in any theft because theft “attacks one’s entire personal well-being, by attacking the welfare interests necessary to it” . In order to protect the interest of the property and the rights of the person in regard to it, “theft laws are designed to protect and enforce property rights”. Consequently, by liquidating a considerable sum of the victim’s life savings without thought to the victim’s financial future the defendant has caused great harm. Thus, the interpretation in Hinks of “appropriation” is valid in regard to the harm principle.The legal paternalism principle establishes that there might be circumstances where we create criminal circumstances to prevent harms to oneself. This is motivated by a claim that the person interfered with will be better off protected from harm. In regard to the Hinks case, it is a profound violation of the Rule of Law to reinterpret the law in order to convict a particular defendant who deserves the label of criminal. As his doctor stated “Mr. Dolphin would be capable of making a gift and did understood the concept of ownership. He was capable of making the decision to divest himself of money, but that it was unlikely that he could make the decision alone.” Therefore, it is argued that her influence was crucial in the transfers or gifts, even though “the definition of theft embraces cases where the property has come to the defendant by the mistake of the person to whom it belongs and there would be an obligation to restore it”. The case of R v Mazo 1997 outlines that “it is necessary to consider the state of mind of the donee and the circumstances of the transfer, but it was also essential to prove that the donor had no sufficient degree of understanding to make a valid gift”. If this is present, then the individual obtained the property at the expense of the other due to the use of manipulation of someone in need. Thus, the law must act as a deterrent and give voice to people who would otherwise have been manipulated to give up their rights to ever resume or recover their proprietary interest.