MALICIOUS DAMAGE | DAMAGE PROPERTY | SECTION 195 CRIMES ACT
Destroying or damaging property is a serious criminal offence under section 195 Crimes Act 1900 which states:
- A person who intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages property belonging to another or to that person and another is liable—
The prosecution bears the onus and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that, the accused:
When recklessness is alleged, the prosecution must prove foresight of harm to property. Further, the necessary foresight, where recklessness is alleged, is not confined to foresight of damage to or destruction of that specific property. It is sufficient that the foresight be in relation to property more generally.
Standard of proof
In criminal proceedings, all the elements of an offence must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution.
The Courts have held that the expression “proved beyond reasonable doubt” mean exactly what they say – proof beyond reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard of proof known to the law. The test in a criminal case is not whether the accused is probably guilty. In a criminal case the prosecution must prove the accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. A suspicion, even a strong suspicion, that the accused may be guilty is not enough. Further a decision that the accused has probably committed the offence also falls short of what is required to prove an offence beyond reasonable doubt.
Defences available to an accused person facing a malicious damage or criminal destruction of property or destroy/damage property offence may include:
The above should not be treated as legal advice but general information.