Crime CLXXIX-Criminal Damage XIX

The decision in Roe v Kingerlee (1986) was similar to the decision in Hardman v Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset (1986) and both decisions reaffirmed the principle that the defendants could be found guilty of criminal damage as per the Criminal Damage Act (1971) even if the damage is temporary and while reading the facts of the cases we also have to look at matters from the public policy perspective.

In Hardman v Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset (1986) the appellants were protestors who called themselves the nuclear disarmament group and in line with their cause they painted depictions of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, in soluble paint, on the pavement. There was no lasting or permanent damage done to the payment and the paint would have disappeared in a matter of days.

The council nonetheless had the paintings cleaned up and employed a team of cleaners who used high pressure washers to do the cleaning and incurred costs for doing so. The appellants were charged and convicted for criminal damage and they appealed.

The appeal was dismissed, and the conviction was upheld. Regardless of whether the damage was short-term or permanent, easily rectified or otherwise, defendants could be found guilty of criminal damage if the courts deem it necessary to do so.

Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward

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