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Criminal Damage Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Criminal Law Notes

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A more recent version of these Criminal Damage notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Criminal Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Revision: Criminal

The Basic Offence


S1(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971


Five Elements:

1. Damage;

2. Property;

3. Belonging to Another;

4. Without lawful excuse; and

5. Intention or reckless as to the damage or destruction

Actus Reus (a) Destroy or Damage o

1971 Act does not define 'damage' or 'destroy' - generally agreed that to destroy something is to damage it


Whether property is damaged is a question of fact and degreeSamuels v Stubbs: difficult to have a definition - guided by circumstances of each case, the nature of the article and the mode by which it was affected


Doesn't need to render property useless/prevent it from serving normal function


A (a juvenile) v R: Spitting on policeman's coat was not criminal damage - implies that there must be some expense on the part of the owner to restore property to previous condition


Hardman v Chief Constable of Avon: damage need not be permanent (soluble paint)


Roe v Kingerlee: mud spread on the walls of police cell was damage even though could be easily removed


Common sense approach approved by Morphitis v Salmon: Criminal damage includes physical harm and also temporary impairment of value/usefulness - here impairment of usefulness of a barrier

(b) Property o

s10(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971: must be tangible whether real or personal, including moneys10(1)(a) - including wild creatures which have been tameds10(1)(b) - not including mushrooms, fruit, foliage growing wild on any land 1

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