Criminal Damage, Aggravated Criminal damage, Blackmail and Arson

Actus Reus and Mens Rea of Arson, Blackmail, Criminal Damage and Aggravated Criminal damage

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Criminal Damage- Definition

  • Criminal damage is under the section 1 of the criminal damage act 1971
  • Any person who does not have lawful excuse and destroys or dmages any property belonging to another intentding to destroy oy damage any property or being reckless will be guilty of the offence
  • 10 years imprisionment
  • Actus Reus-Destroying or damaging, property, belonging to another
  • Mens Rea- Destuction or damage done intentionally or recklessly.
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Damage

  • Damage means some kind of physical impairment- permanent change in the quality or value e.g. watering down alcohol
  • Also damage doesnt have to be irreparable-
    • Hardman v Chief constable of Avon Somerset Constabulary- pay someone to clean
    • R v Fisher- took time to repair
  • Damage may be cause where restoring the property to its original condition involves time or money. R v A- Spat on policeman
  • R v Fiak- Flooded toilets, needed time to clean.
  • Common sense is needed- Morphitis v Salmon- Scratched a scoffolding pipe.
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Destruction or damage

  • The defendant must intend or be reckless in causing destruction or damage to property belonging to another but recklessness as to whether the property belongs to the defendant is cunningham recklessness.
  • The court changed the meaning of recklessness in Caldwell by assing objective recklessness
  • objective test was harsh in its application especially yound or having learning difficulties- Elliot v C.
  • R v G and R- HOL quoshed their convicteion and ruled they could not be guilt unless they realised the risk- this case was when subjective test got reinstated and overuled the Caldwell test.
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Aggravated Criminal Damage

  • Aggravated Criminal Damage is found in Section 1(2) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971;
  • A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages property whether belonging to himslef or another; intending to destroy or damage any property or being reckless as to whether any property would be destroyed or damaged, and intending by the destruction of the damages to endanger life of another.
  • Life imprisonment
  • Actus Reus; destroying or damaging, property, belonging to another and the defendant must endanger life.
  • Mens Rea; intention to endanger life or recklessness adnd destruction or damge done intentionally or recklessly.
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Endangering life

  • Endangering life doesnt mean the defendant has to endanger life it means that potential danger- R v Sangha- set fire to matress- guilty even though there was no real risk but he didnt know that.
  • A defendant could in theory be guilty of section 1(2) even if he damages his own property- R v Merrick- cut through cables with owners consent- guilty.
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Arson- Definition

  • Arson is contained in Section 1(2) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971
  • Where an offence committed under this section by desroying or damaging property by fire shall be charged as arson.
  • Life imprisonment
  • Actus Reus; Destoying or damaging, property, belonging to another by fire.
  • Mens rea; destruction or damage done intentionally or recklessly
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Fire

  • R v Miller- where a squatter fell asleep having lit a cigarette when he woke he found the mattress mouldering.
  • He failed to take action and just moved to another room. He was convicted of arson by an omission.
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Blackmail- Definition

  • Blackmail is contained in section 21 of the Theft Act 1968
  • A gain for him or another with intent to cause loss to another he makes any unwarranted demands with menaces so the person making it does so in belief; that he has resonable grounds for making the demands and that the use of manaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand,
  • Actus Reus: demand with menaces
  • Mens Rea: act with a veiw to gain for him or another or with intent to cause loss and this has to involve money or property.
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Demand

  • The demand can include words, the defendants conduct and also modern communication- R v Collister and Warhurst
  • Treacy v DPP- postal rules- as soon as it was posted
  • Section 21 explains that any demand made with menaces is unwarranted unless two tests set out in section 21(1) are fulfilled;
  • He had reasonable grounds for making the demand and the use of the menaces was a proper means of reinforcing the demand
  • That the use of menaces was the roper way of reinforcing the demand
  • R v Harvey- sold poor qualit canabis- killed and ***** family- method was unjust
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Menaces

  • This has been held to be a serious threat but this is also to be determined by the jury.- R v Lawrence and Pomroy- blackmail because the words the defendants used amounted to menaces.
  • The victim does not necessarily have to be intimidates as long as the defendant is aware of the likely effect on the victim- R v Harry -115 letters- not enough people complained.
  • R v Garwood overturned the decision in R v Harry- where a threat is made which would not affect a normal person this can still be menaces if the defendant was aware of the likely effect on the victim.
  • R v Bevans - mens rea - demanded morphine

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