Law Unit 4 Case Cards - Criminal Damage

AQA Unit 4 Examination PM 23rd June

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  • Created on: 06-06-11 17:33

Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Section 1(1) Basic Offence Destroy or Damage

Roe v Kingerlee (1986)

D smeared mud over a police cell and the police spent £7 in removing it.

Held: because of the expense of the repair this was damage.

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Section 1(1) Basic Offence Destroy or Damage

A v R (1978)

D spat at a policeman's tunic/ uniform an was charged with criminal damage.

Held: there was no damage as it required no time or expense to wipe it off.

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Section 1(1) Basic Offence Destroy or Damage

Hardman v Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary (1986)

D, a protestor had spray painted the outlines of bodies on a pavement. The council went to the expense of cleaning them off.

Held: that this was damage due to the "reasonable" expense.

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Section 1(1) Basic Offence Destroy or Damage

Blake v DPP (1993)

The defendant wrote on concrete pillars.

Held: graffiti can amount to criminal damage because more often than not it can only be removed with effort and expense. It can also be important to consider what the property is used for.

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Section 1(1) Basic Offence Destroy or Damage

Morphitis v Salmon (1990)

D scratched a scaffolding pole being used as part of a barrier. 

Held: he had not damaged the pole because its value and usefulness were unaffected but he had damaged the structure of the barrier.

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Section 1(1) Basic Offence Intent or Reckless

R v Pembliton (1874)

The defendant threw a stone at some people he had been fighting with in the street. He missed his human targets and the stone hit a window.

Held: he did not intend to damage the window and as the jury found he was not reckless, his conviction was quashed on appeal. Recklessness is therefore sufficient.


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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Basic Offence Defence Section 5(2)(a)

R v Denton (1982)

A cotton-mill worker had set light to some of the mill machinery, damaging it. 

Held: his defence under s5(2)(a) was successful because he was of the honest belief that his employer wanted him to burn down the mill, so that an insurance claim could be made on the property.

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Basic Offence Defence Section 5(2)(a)

Jaggard v Dickinson (1980)

The defendant caused criminal damage to what she thought was a friend's house, honestly believing that her friend would have consented to her breaking a couple of windows. Unfortunately, it turned out that the house in question belonged to someone else and that the defendant had mistaken it for her friend's house while under the influence of alcohol.

Held: on appeal she was judged to have "lawful excuse" for the damage because her belief about the owner's consent was an honest one, even though former when she was drunk.

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Basic Offence Defence Section 5(2)(b)

Blake v DPP (1993)

Raised the defences of both sections 5(2)(a) and s5(2)(b). The defendant, a vicar protesting against the Gulf War, had written anti-war quotations from the Bible on large concrete pillars outside the Houses of Parliament in London. As part of his defence, he claimed that he has God's consent to the damage done, which he urged would be a lawful excuse, under s5(2)(a), and that the damage he caused was in order to protect property in the Gulf, which he hoped would be a lawful excuse under s5(2)(b).

Held: he was convicted of criminal damage, the court holding that God could not consent to the damage, and that the damage was incapable of protecting property in the Gulf from immediate danger.

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Section 1(2) Aggravated Offence Endanger the Life of Another

R v Steer (1987)

The defendant fired shots at a house, causing damage to a door. Following an appeal to the House of Lords it was held that, for the defendant to be found guilty under s1(2), it must be shown that the actual damage to the property endangered the life. 

Held: the damage to the door did not endanger life and so the defendant was not guilty.

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Section 1(2) Aggravated Offence Endanger the Life of Another

R v Sangha (1988)

The defendant set fire to furniture in a neighbour's flat.

Held: The flat was empty, but the defendant was still found guilty. 

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Criminal Damage - Criminal Damage Act 1971

Section 1(3) Destruction or Damage by Fire (Arson)

R v Miller (1983)

The defendant accidentally started a fire but failed to summon any help - he left the room instead. The fire spread, causing extensive damage.

Held: he was found guilty of arson under s1(3) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971.

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