How the Grinch Was Convicted

December 21, 2020

In his attempt to steal Christmas, the Grinch committed a litany of crimes. We look at the offences he may be charged with, and how an Ontario Court might choose to convict him.

The Grinch’s Offences

The Grinch hated Christmas, the whole Christmas season!

In the space of one night, he squeezed all these crimes in:

Breaking and Entering

The crux of the Grinch’s idea, an awful idea, revolved around multiple counts of breaking and entering. Over the course of one night, he snuck into every home in Whoville with the intent to steal all Christmas related items.

The fact that he was entering a private dwelling increases the severity of the charges. And doing so knowing that people were home could upgrade the offence to a home invasion. Home invasions have the intention, or at least the potential, of violence. As such, these charges are treated severely.

Theft Over $5000

Although Dr. Seuss never tallied up the value of all the things the Grinch stole, we can assume it was well over $5000. He took all of the presents, Christmas decorations, and food from each home. Even stealing from a single family, that would add up quick. But taken from an entire town, the value is certainly significant.

The majority of thefts in Canada are under $5000 and are generally treated less severely. For instance, Toronto police no longer respond to calls for minor shoplifting offences. Often, these small value thefts are summary convictions.

When the value of the stolen goods/property passes the $5000 mark, the consequences ramp up. These offences are always indictable and can result in up to 10 years imprisonment.

Identity Fraud

Identify fraud is the fraudulent personation of another person to gain advantage or cause disadvantage. The Grinch dressing up as Santa could lead to this charge, especially in a world where Santa is apparently real, and likely seen as an authority figure.

Merely dressing up as Santa, doesn’t qualify as identity fraud on its own. A mall Santa, for instance, isn’t committing a crime. The purpose of their deception is for entertainment and doesn’t take advantage of anyone, nor deprive them of anything.

What would cause problems for the Grinch is his interaction with Cindy-Lou Who. He took advantage of his Santa disguise to convince her that he was the Jolly old elf to steal her family’s possessions. This is a snug fit to the definition of identity fraud.

Animal Cruelty

The Grinch could potentially face animal cruelty charges for his dog, Max. Merely dressing Max up as reindeer isn’t an offence. If anything, it’s just festive. The problem comes in when he tries to treat Max as a magical reindeer.

The small dog is forced to drag a sled, full of the entire town’s belongings, up a mountain. And then, after the Grinch’s change of heart, all the way back down. This could result in endangerment charges as the strain and risk for serious injury are intense.

Aggravating Circumstances

Among the key sentencing considerations for judges are the aggravating circumstances. These are the factors that increase the severity of the sentence. Unfortunately for the Grinch, a few of these may come into play.

Committing a crime with malicious intent can quickly escalate the severity of the charge. While stealing for profit is bad, stealing to cause intentional suffering to the victim is worse. And Mr. Grinch proves to be a mean one indeed.

His crimes were specifically committed with the intent to cause all the Whos to, “cry boo-hoo.” The Grinch’s saving grace here is that this is difficult to prove. The only witness for this statement is his dog, who can’t testify. 

Another aggravating factor is the planning and forethought that went into his actions. Between the suit, slay, and necessary organization to pull it off, it would be nigh-impossible to pass this off as a crime of opportunity.

Mitigating Circumstances

Fortunately for the Grinch, he may find some redemption in mitigating circumstances. These are the reverse of aggravating factors, allowing for greater leniency.

Medical and psychological factors may have played a role in the decision to commit the offences. The book cites that, “it could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right,” and his heart being, “two sizes too small,” as possible reasons for the criminal acts.

It is unlikely that the Grinch would be found not criminally responsible. However, these conditions may be considered mitigating circumstances that could lessen the severity.

Another mitigating factor is that the Grinch displays genuine remorse for the actions and attempts to make amends. After his heart grows two sizes, he sees the error of his ways and returns all of the gifts, decorations, and food. The town seems to accept this gesture, they even let the Grinch cut the roast-beast at their Christmas feast. With this acceptance, It’s possible that the victims may not even press charges.

The mitigating circumstances could lead to leniency in sentencing if convicted.

Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyer

William Jaksa is an experienced criminal lawyer in Toronto. He understands that you are not your charges and treats every client with care and dignity. Book your consultation today.

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