Our firm represents a lot of people who are charged with Theft. Whether that is a minor theft of a good or very serious theft involving thousands of dollars’ worth of goods or dollars. Clients often ask “look I’ve got the items still in perfect condition, what if I just return it will they drop the charge?” The short answer to that question unfortunately is no. Once the charge has been laid the Crown is not going to drop the charge. Returning the good might mitigate the crime in terms of getting a better sentence or a lighter deal but generally not going to have the charge dropped.
I suppose there’s also situations where a person knows you’ve stolen something and they go to you and they say look if you don’t return this I’m going to you know go to the police. I suppose you could return the good in that situation and then you’re at the mercy of the person. They could still go to the police but I guess morally that would be up to you whether to return the good. Morally, personally I would if I was in that situation but you’re opening yourself up to a charge and the person may just suspect that you’ve stolen it. They can’t prove it. So it’s totally up to you what you want to do in that situation.
So the short answer to that original question is if you’ve been charged with theft returning the good is not going to help you get the charge dropped. It might mitigate your sentence. In other words lessen your sentence.