3 types: basic offence s1(1), aggravated offence s1(2) or arson s1(3).
Criminal Damage Act 1971: "A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another either intentionally or recklessly."
Actus Reus: (3 parts)
- words not defined in the act, courts held that:
destroys = rendering the property useless, in addition to total destruction (not fit for purpose). Does not have to be completely destroyed (e.g. wide screen TV - screen cracked).
damage = where property is made imperfect/inoperative or if the harm affects its usefulness or value. - TIME, MONEY AND EFFORT TO RETURN PROPERTY BACK TO ITS ORIGINAL STATE.
Samuels v Stubbs - Policemans cap was trampled. Held: "a temporary cessation of function is enough." D guilty.
Roe v Kingerlee - D smeared mud on police cell wall, cost £7 to clean. Held: if the damage cost money to clean, D guilty.
A v R - D spat on policemans raincoat. Held: not guilty, spit can easily be wiped off.
Hardman v ccAvon - D drew on pavement with water soluble paint. Held: criminal damage as time, money and effort were required.
Morphitis - scratch on scaffolding pole = not criminal damage, did not impair its usefulness or value.
- has the same meaning as in theft: tangibles including money and animals. But land can be damaged.
Belonging to another
3) Belonging to another
- same meaning as in theft: can damage your own property BUT not if it is in your possession.
Smith - D ripped out wiring from the walls he installed when he was leaving his rented flat, causing damage. D believed he was entitled to the property. Held: if D honestly believed the property is his own, then it is irrelevant to consider whether the belief was justified.
D must either have intended the damage, or have known there was a risk of damage but carried on regardless.
- Intention = direct/oblique
- Recklessness = Cunningham subjective (confirmed by R v G)
- Dishonesty applies (so do 3 negatives - would give a lawful excuse)
Defence: Lawful excuse
s5(2) Criminal Damage Act 1971: "D will have a defence in 2 situations:
- s5(2)(a) - if D believes the owner would have consented to the damage if they had known the facts
- s5(2)(b) - where D damages/destroys property to protect his own.
BUT a) the property must be in need of immediate protection
b) D acted reasonably
s5(3): "it is immaterial whether D's belief is justified as long as it is honestly held."
Jaggard v Dickinson - D broke into a house mistakenly believing it was her friends, whilst she was drunk. D claimed her friend would have consented. Held: defence of lawful excuse allowed.
Aggravated Criminal Damage - s1(2)
- a danger to life
s1(2): "where D damages or destroys property belonging to himself or another, intentionally or recklessly AND as a result intentionally or recklessly endangering life."
Aggravated Criminal Damage
Sangha - Held: "it is not a requirement that someones life must actually be put at risk , it is enough that a reasonable man would have believed this."
- similar to the basic offence, but property can belong to D.
- Lawful excuse does not apply
Danger to life:
Steer - Held: "the danger to life must come directly from the damage to property and not from any other source."
Arson - s1(3)