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Criminal Damage: Actus Reus

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Criminal Damage: Actus Reus

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Criminal Damage Act 1971 (CDA)

  • S1(1) CDA: A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.

Damage or destroy:

  • not defined in CDA / liberal interpretation / fact & degree
  • not necessarily visible or tangible / reduce value or utility / water soluble ink (Hardman)
  • scratch on scaffold not enough / but removal did reduce utility or value (Morphitis v Salmon)
  • computers limited to physical damage (Police and Justice Act 2006)
  • S1(3) CDA: by fire / arson


  • S10(1) CDA: tangible / real or personal / money or other / animals or land / excludes wild flowers

Belonging to another:

  • S10(2) CDA: (a) custody or control / (b) proprietary right or interest


  • S1(1) CDA: without lawful excuse / no consent
  • S5(2) CDA: objective immediate necessity to protect / nuclear protest (Hill v Hill)
  • S5(3) CDA: subjective belief / wrong home (Jaggard v Dickinson)
  • not sufficient: subjective belief act was reasonable (Lloyd v DPP)
bits of law
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