Albert and Bernice shared a house while studying at university. During that time Bernice’s sister, Clarissa, decided to go on safari in Africa for a number of years and suggested that Bernice and Albert use her antique furniture and Norman Lindsay paintings to furnish their house while she was away. The furniture was valued at $10,000. Soon after the furniture and paintings were moved into the house, Bernice left to pursue an acting career in America. Albert stayed on living in the house while he finished his marketing degree and ultimately pursued a career as a film promoter.
Bernice has become a successful actor and film promoter and Albert is now a prominent film promoter. Bernice has recently starred in a movie about the life of Norman Lindsay and Albert was responsible for the film’s marketing in Australia. Albert decided to display Clarissa’s Norman Lindsay paintings, which were still in his possession, in the foyer of the movie theatre at the premiere. The film was controversial and there was a protest at the premiere. One of the protesters, Hugh, sprayed the word ‘blasphemy’ on the wall of the cinema and at the same time splattered some paint onto one of the Lindsay works, damaging it beyond repair.
While Albert was at the premiere his house was robbed of Clarissa’s antique furniture. The stolen antique furniture was taken to an auctioneer, Sam, who sold it to Tara. Neither Sam nor Tara were aware that the furniture was stolen. Restoration work done on the furniture by Tara since the purchase has increased the value of the furniture.
On returning from Africa last week, Clarissa rented a truck and went to Albert’s house to retrieve her paintings and furniture. Albert told her what had happened and Clarissa has now come to you for advice. Advise Clarissa with respect to possible actions in trespass, ignoring any statutory protection that may be available to an innocent purchaser for value.