Law 04 Criminal Damage


Criminal Damage

S1(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971 

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AR destroy or damage

Gayford v Chouler - Slightest damage was sufficent to prove damage 

Roe v Kingerlee - 'Damage' covers a wide area 

Hardman - Not permanent but needs money and time to remove can result to criminal damage 

Blake v DPP - Cost of damage defeats if it isnt permanent 

Fiak - Temporary impairment of value and usefullness 

A (juvenile) v R - No cost/not permanent then no liabilty 

Morphits v Salmon - Purpose of property is relevant eg scaffold 

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AR property

S10(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971 - Defined property as 'tangiable nature, real or personal property including money'

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AR Belonging to another

S10(2) Criminal Damage Act 1971 - Defines 'belonging to another':

  • either having custody or control or:
  • having it in any property right or interest or 
  • having a charge on it 

Smith - Support belonging to another 

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Basic offence

Intention and recklessness 

Criminal Damage Act 1971

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MR Intention

Pemlinton - Must be intention to do the damage (Not guilty in this case) 

Seray-White - Intended the damge 

2nd Part of intent 'belonging to another'

Smith - Intended to damage property but believed it was his own (Not guilty) 

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MR Recklesness

Stephenson - Court of Appeal used subjective test for recklessness 

Caldwell - Reinstated a objective and subjective test to recklessness 

Elliot v C - Was incapable of appreciating the rick but was still guilty 

Gemmell and Richards (G v R) - Overruled and reinstated the subjective test for recklessness "Had recognised that there was some risk involved and has nonetheless gone on to take the risk"

S1 Criminal Damage Act 1971 - Clearly states the subjective meaning, D is only guilty if he realised the risk of the damage 

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MR without lawful excuse

S5 Criminal Damage Act 1871 - Basic offence: They apply where the defendant honestly believes either that: 

  • The owner (or another person with the rights in the property) would have consented to the damage; or
  • other property was at risk and in need of immediate protection and what he had did was reasonable in all the circumstances 

Belief in consent - Denton 

Intoxicated mistakes - Jaggard v Dickinson Allows defence of mistake even with intoxication 

Belief that other property was in need of immediate need of protection - S5(2)(b):

  • Hunt - If D has another purpose in doing the damage, then the court may rule that the defence isnt available to them 
  • Blake v DPP - Defences under both S5(2)(a) and S5(2)(b) 
  • Cresswell and Currie - D cannot cause criminal damage to something in order to protect something which is not in law considered to be property
  • Baker and Wilkins - No defence where D believes he is acting to protect a person from harm 
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Endangering life

S1(2) Criminal Damage Act 1971 - Aggravated offence of criminal damage 

AR: Danger to life 

AR: Life not actually endangered 

AR: Own property 

MR: Intention or recklessness as to destroying or damaging any property 

MR: Intention or recklessness as to wether the life is endangered by the destruction or damage 

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Danger to life

Steer - Danger to life must come from the desruction or damage, not from another source in which damage was caused 

Law Lords stated: If it did include the act (as opposed to the damage) then there woul dbe an anomaly

Webster - S1(2) If intended or was reckless that the stone would smash the roof of the train of vehicle so that metal would or obviously might decend upon the passenger endagering lives then D would be guilty 

Warwick - S1(2) It doesnt depend on whether the brick hits or misses the windscreen, but whether he intended to hit it or intended that the damage from this should endanger life, or whether he was reckless as to that outcome 

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Own property

S1(2) - Also applied to defendants own property destoyed. Has D intended or been reckless as to whether life is endangered by the damage D does, it doesnt matter whether property was D's or someone elses 

Merrick - Supports belonging to own 

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Life doesnt have to be endangered

Sangha - D set fire to matress flat was empty and no person was in danger 

Apply subjective test 

Gemmell and Richards - Would D realise that life might be endangered if he didnt then he would be guilty even if there is no actual risk

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Mens rea endangering life

  • Intention or recklessness as to destorying damage or any property 
  • Intention or recklessness as to life is endangered by the damage 

Gemmell and Richards - Subjective test 

Cooper - Confirmed Gemmell and Richards as to whether the D has ealised the risk

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S1(3) Criminal Damage Act 1971 - An offence comitted by destroying or damaging property by fire, the offence becomes arson 

Miller - Supports arson and states it can be comitted by an omission where the D accidently started a fire and failed to do anything to prevent the fire 

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