Case Law The Basic Offence

  • Created by: A Francis
  • Created on: 21-03-13 20:40
Section 1(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971
A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or be reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence
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Actus Reus of The Basic Offence
Destroy or Damage; Property; Belonging to Another
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Mens Rea of The Basic Offence
Intention or Recklessness as to cause Damage or Destroy Property Belonging to Another Without Lawful Excuse
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Gayford v Chouler
Even slight damage is sufficient to prove damage i.e. trampling grass
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'Destroy' is a much stronger than 'damage' and it includes where the property has been made useless even though it is not completely destroyed
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Roe v Kingerlee
The courts' approach is based on whether it will cost money, time and/or effort to remove the damage
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The 'temporary impairment of value or usefulness' is the key factor
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A (a juvenile) v R
If there are no costs or effort in cleaning up, and the property can continue to be used then there is unlikely to be an offence
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Morphitis v Salmon
Damage in line with everyday use that does not affect their usefulness or integrity is unlikely to be held as damage - a scratch on a scaffolding pole
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Section 10(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971 Property
'Property' means property of a tangible nature, whether real or personal, including money. It includes wild creatures which have been tamed or ordinarily kept in captivity, as well as other wild creatures or their carcasses if they are possessed
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Section 10(2) Criminal Damage Act 1971 Belonging to Another
Property is treated as belonging to any person: 1) Having the custody or control of it; or 2) Having in it any proprietary right or interest; or 3) Having a charge on it
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Proving the act is not enough, there must be an intention to do the damage
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Honest belief, whether justifiable or not, that the property is the D's own negates the element of mens rea
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Gemmell and Richards (G and R)
Recklessness for the purposes of the mens rea of criminal damage mens the D must have been aware of the risk of damage occurring. It is a Subjective Test
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Section 5 The two lawful excuses - They apply where the D honestly believes either that:
a) The owner (or another person with rights in the property) would have consented to the damage; or b) other property was at risk and in need of immediate protection and what he did was reasonable in all the circumstances
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If the D believes that his employer encouraged him to destroy property; this is a belief of consent
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Jaggard v Dickinson
Section 5(3) allows for an unjustified mistake as long as it is honestly held, this allows for intoxication, stupidity, forgetfulness and inattention
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Cresswell and Currie
Wild badgers are not 'property' to protect under s5(2)(b)
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Baker and Wilkins
The protection of persons is not included under s5(2)(a) and s5(2)(b)
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Actus Reus of The Basic Offence


Destroy or Damage; Property; Belonging to Another

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Mens Rea of The Basic Offence


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Card 4


Gayford v Chouler


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