Crime CLXIII-Criminal Damage III

1 (2) of the Criminal Damage Act reads as follows:-

1 (2) A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property, whether belonging to himself or another—

(a) Intending to destroy or damage any property or being reckless as to whether any property would be destroyed or damaged; and

(b) Intending by the destruction or damage to endanger the life of another or being reckless as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered; shall be guilty of an offence.

Much of the case law with regards to criminal damage relates to property that belongs to another and property that the defendant does not have a proprietary interest in.

However, under certain circumstances it might be an offence to destroy one’s own property though it might be difficult to envisage such a situation arising.

It would be an offence to do so (destroy one’s own property) when doing so would endanger the life of another for example when squatters move into vacate land. While the owner of the land has rights over his land, he cannot set fire to the land or have bulldozers run through it because doing so would endanger the life of another especially in instances where the land is occupied by long term squatters (10 years or more) who can become registered owners of the land or property.

Therefore, technically under the Criminal Damage Act 1971, it is an offence to: –

1) Destroy the property of another

and

2) Destroy one’s own property if it would endanger the life of another.

Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward

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