Criminal Damage

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  • Created on: 05-04-16 16:54

THE CRIMINAL DAMAGE ACT 1971

DEFINES:

1. Criminal Damage (basic offence)

2. Aggravated Criminal Damage

3. Arson (basic offence)

4. Aggravated Arson

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CRIMINAL DAMAGE

Definition within section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971:

'without lawful excuse, D destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to sestroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether such property should be destroyed or damaged'

  • destroy/damage
  • property
  • belonging to another
  • without lawful excuse
  • with intent/recklessness as to do so
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The Actus Reus

DESTROY

  • making it useless, but not completely destroying it

 DAMAGE

TIPS FOR DETERMINING DAMAGE...

can be either permanent or non-permanent :

ROE V KINGERLEE: D put mud on the walls of cell; non-permanent, but held to be damage

money/effort must be required to fix it:

FIAK: D put a jumper in the oilet of prison cell, causing it to flood; money and effort required

A V R: D spat on policemen's uniform; held this could easily be wiped off

the property that is damaged must be considered:

MORPHITIS V SALMON: D scratched scaffolding pole

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The Actus Reus

PROPERTY

Defined within section 10(1):

real property, personal property tamed wild animals - but not untamed ones!

BELONGING TO ANOTHER

Defined within section 10(2):

property ownership allows you to have: custody, control and proprietary right over it

SMITH: D removed wiring from flat, breaking fixtures; held these fixtures belonged to another - the landlord

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The Actus Reus

WITHOUT LAWFUL CAUSE

WHAT IS 'LAWFUL'?

1. genuine belief that the owner of the property would consent

2. genuine belief that damage to the property would protect it from immediate risk

DENTON: D believed his manager wanted him to set fire to cotton mill and so did; NG!

JAGGARD V DICKINSON: D broke into a house she believed was her friends; she genuinly believed her friend would consent; NG even though it was not her friend's house

HUNT: D set fire to bedding to prove fire alarm was not working; NG as he protected the property

CRESSWELL V CURRIE: Ds broke badger traps to save the badgers; badgers had nto yet been caught and so could not be classed as property - they therefore couldn't 'protect' them!

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The Mens Rea

INTENT

PEMBILTON: D threw a stone at men but hit a window instead; not guilty as he has no intent to damage the window

the mens rea must be present, even if the whole actus reus is present!

You must believe that property belongs to another to have intent !

RECKLESSNESS

CUNNINGHAM: developed recklessness : 'the taking of an unjustifiable risk'

A V R: 2 boys set fire to newspapers on concrete surface; belieed this would extinguish the flames; caused 1 million pound of damage; did not know the risk and so could not be found reckless

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When Does Criminal Damage Become Aggravated?

WHEN IT ENDANGERS LIFE...

Definition held within section 1(2) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971:


“without lawful excuse, destroys or damages property, whether belonging to himself or another –


  1. Intending to destroy or damage any property or being reckless as to whether any property would be damaged destroyed or damaged; an

  2. Intending by the destruction or damage to endanger the life of another or being reckless as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered

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The Actus Reus

ENDANGERING LIFE

endangerment of life must desult from damage/destruction

STEER: D shot at door; held this was not agg. criminal damage as it did not endanger the lives of the inhabitants

must have necessary mens rea for both the damage/destruction and to endanger life

WARWICK: D rammed his care into back of police car; threw brick whcih broke the windows; mens rea for both damage/destruction and endangerment of life

if D realises life could be endangered, he can be convicted whether it was or not

SANGHA: set fire to flat; had no inhabitants and was built to resist fire - BUT D did not know his!

OWN PROPERTY

MERRICK: D exposed wiring in a house and left it; could endanger life; convicted

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The Mens Rea

2 PARTS:

1. intent/recklessness to destroy/damage property

2. intent/recklessness to to endanger life

RECKLESSNESS

COOPER: D was mentally impaired; set fire to matress in house; he recognised the risk of endanegring life; this was held to be recklessness; he was convicted

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ARSON

DEFINED IN SECTION 1(3):

BASIC OFFENCE:

where damage/destruction is the result of a fire

AGGRAVATED OFFENCE:

where the defendant is reckless as to endangering life through the damage or destruction he causes

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