In Samuels v Stubbs (1972) the defendant trampled on a policeman’s cap. The damage was nominal, and the cap could easily have been pushed back into place, but the defendant was charged nonetheless and was convicted.
The defendant appealed, and it was decided that the defendant’s actions did indeed constitute criminal damage. It is difficult to express in advance what damage is, and it covers a wide range of things, and not all of them need to put the victim out of pocket. Even if the damage is nominal, the defendant could still be charged and convicted for criminal damage.
However, it could be said with some degree of certain that the defendant’s actions were willful and malicious as opposed to accidental or unintentional and that in itself, regardless of the type of damage that is done or caused or the severity of the damage, whether the victim is put out of pocket or otherwise, is sufficient to render the defendant liable under the Criminal Damage Act 1971.
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