Intentionally or Recklessly Property Damage

THE LAW

The offence of Destroying or Damaging Property is contained in section 195 of the Crimes Act 1900 which states:

(1) A person who intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable:
(a) to imprisonment for 5 years, or
(b) if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, to imprisonment for 10 years.

(1A) A person who, in the company of another person or persons, intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable:
(a) to imprisonment for 6 years, or
(b) if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, to imprisonment for 11 years.

(2) A person who, in the company of another person or persons, intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable:
(a) to imprisonment for 7 years, or
(b) if the destruction or damage is caused by means of fire or explosives, to imprisonment for 12 years.

 

MAXIMUM/POSSIBLE PENALTIES

If found guilty of Destroying or Damaged Property, the convicted can face imprisonment for up to 2 years (if heard in the Local Court) or 5 years (if heard in the District Court).

If the root cause of damage is fire or explosives, the convicted can face imprisonment for up to 10 years.

If the offence has been committed in the company of 1 or more people, the maximum term of imprisonment is 6 years, or 11 years if the mode of destruction is fire or explosives.

If the offence has occurred simultaneously with a public disorder or riots, the maximum term of imprisonment is 7 years, or 12 years if the mode of destruction is fire or explosives.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Destroying or Damaging Property charge of:

  • Full-time Imprisonment;
  • An Intensive Correction Order (ICO);
  • A Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • A Conditional Release Order (CRO).

 

THE FACTS THAT MUST BE PROVEN

As Destroying or Damaging Property is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution. The prosecution must prove each of the following matters:

  • You destroyed or damaged property;
  • The property belonged to another person, or the accused and another person;
  • The destruction or damage was done maliciously, with intent or recklessness;
  • That you were the person who committed the malicious damage to property offence.

 

CASE LAW/JURISDICTION

Where the value exceeds $5000 an offence of Destroying or damaging property is what is known as a Table 1 offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless it is elected to be dealt with on indictment by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Where the property does not exceed $5000 an offence of Destroying or damaging property is a Table 2 offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless it is elected to be dealt with on indictment by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) or the accused.

To date, there is no specific and defined approach to damage under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) due to which, the cases falling under damage have been determined with many different judicial approaches. The case of Hammond v R [2013] NSWCCA 93 is the benchmark case to infer the right approach and conditions which constitute malicious damage. The authorities concluded that damage or change to property need not be permanent hence only if the core operation of the property has been meddled with, it shall be interpreted as destruction or damage. The case of Hammond arose due to the spitting on a mental seat of a dock which, in the final verdict, was not considered to be malicious damage.

 

DEFENCES

The law also has provisioned defences to protect the innocent, even when elements of the charge are proved. While building up a case against Destroying or Damage property charges, the following defences can be put up in your favor:

  • If your act was propagated by some threats or some pressure you succumbed to, you may be able to argue “Duress”;
  • If it was inevitable to act in the way you did, in order to prevent a bigger mishap, you may have the defence of “Necessity”; or
  • If your act was done as a measure of defending yourself or saving someone else, or for saving yours or someone else’s property, you may have a Defence of “Self-Defence”.

 

CHOICES AT LAW OPTIONS

For using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® offers the following options:

  1. We initiate negotiation with prosecutors (police) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) and plead to withdrawal or downgrade of the charge or alternatively, seek amendments to the police fact sheets or documents.
  2. At the hearing/trial, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® shall if you so instruct Plead Not Guilty and drive the argument based on prosecution’s inability to prove the elements of their accusation.
  3. Alternatively, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® may plead guilty on your instructions however, the hearing shall revolve around the facts with an objective to obtain a moderate or minimum punishment.
  4. Lastly, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® on your instructions enter a plea of guilt where you accept all the charges pressed by the police, but we present a case so solid on your behalf, with an objective to persuade and convince the Court to not record a criminal conviction against you.

For further information on your choices at law click on (CHOICES AT LAW tab on our website)

 

WHY REP-REVIVE CRIMINAL & EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS®

There are several reasons to engage Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers®:

  •  We are always in your corner

At Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® we understand the gravity of a criminal charge on your reputation. Thus, we work with the utmost diligence and fervour to restore any dints to our client’s repute. We fight for your rights and liberty earnestly, and for the best results, irrespective of the intensity of the matter. All these factors have made us known in the industry as always being in our client’s corner. 

  •  We bring about excellent results

Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® is driven by positive outcomes and defend your case with skills which have been sharpened by years of experience. You will be dealing with lawyers who are proficient at their craft and will defend your case with rigour and an aim to have the matter withdrawn, downgraded, dismissed or the minimal penalty available at law imposed.

Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® are adept in all forms of advocacy and will present your case in the most skilful manner in Court. 

  • Your case will be in the hands of an experienced lawyer

Irrespective of your decision in deciding the course of the case, you will be supported and guided by Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® who have been in the provision of legal service for over 21 years. 

If you are caught up in this charge our team at Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® are best suited for representing your case.

Please contact our office on 0419 998 398 or 0492 857 721 or email info@rpr5.sydney for more information. The first consultation is free.

 

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