criminal damage summary

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  • Criminal Damage
    • Found under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 s.1 (1)
    • AR: DESTROY OR DAMAGE PROPERTY BELONGING TO ANOTHER.
    • 'PROPERTY'
      • Very similar to how the Theft Act 2968 defines property.
        • Differences
          • Land is property which cannot be stolen but can be damaged, intangible rights cannot be damaged but they can be stolen
      • Set out in s.10 (1)
    • MR: INTENTION OR RECKLESSN--ESS TO DO THE DAMAGE
      • Proving the act is not enough, there must be intent to do the damage shown by the case of Pembliton. Also shown in the case of Seray - White 1874
      • Recklessness
        • The Caldwell Test was the old test when trying to find intention, held it was too harsh in application.
          • In Elliott v C 1983 the D was incapable of appreciating the risk, but still guilty under the test
        • In 2003 the case of Gemmel & Richards overruled the Caldwell test and reinstated a subjective test for recklessness
    • 'DESTROY OR DAMAGE'
      • This is not defined in the Act
      • The old case of Gayford & Chouler 1891 held that even slight damage was sufficient to prove  damage.
        • Are not binding to the CDA but can be persuasive precedent.
      • 'Destroy' is a much stronger word than damage, it includes where property has been made useless
      • Roe V Kingerlee held that whether property had been damaged was by a 'matter of fact and degree'.
      • A v R held that if the damage requires no cost or effort in repairing/cleaning up it is not criminal damage
      • Fiak held that if there was a 'temporary impairement of value or usefulness' then it can be criminal damage
      • What is damage?  The courts approach seems to be based on whether it will cost time/money to remove the damage.
        • This can be seen in the case of Hardman v Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Constabulary
    • 'BELONGING TO ANOTHER'
      • Set out in s.10 (2)
      • Similar to Theft
      • Property is treated as belonging to any parson who:
        • Having the custody or control of it
        • Having any proprietary right or interest
        • having a charge on it
        • It is not restricted to the owner shown in the cases of Smith 1974 and Turner No.2
    • Without lawful excuse
      • The defence is allowed for CD if the D believed that:
        • The owner of the property would have consented to the damage
          • Case of Denton support this
        • Other property was at risk and in need immediate protection - acts were reasonable in the circumstances
          • If the D had another reason for doing the damage then he cannot rely on the defence, as seen in Hunt.
          • Must be protecting other (of what the law defines as) property, shown by the case of Cresswell & Currie 2006
    • AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL DAMAGE
      • Endangering Life is an aggravated offence of criminal damage under s 1 (2)
        • Carries a max sentence of life imprisonment
        • The danger to life must come from the destruction or damage, not from another source shown by the case of Steer.
        • Life does not actually have to be endangered, shown by the case of Sangha
      • MR: intention or recklessness in damaging the property; and intention or recklessness as to whether the life is endangered by the destruction or damage.
      • Section 1 (2) also applies where the D damages his own property shown by the case of Merrick
    • ARSON
      • Found under s1 (3)
      • This is committed by destroying or damaging property by fire, max sentence is life.
      • In Miller it was held that arson can be committed by an omission

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