Malicious Damage of Property

The offence of Malicious Damage 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) 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, during a public disorder, 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.

According to the act, property includes:

  • All real and personal property;
  • Money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies;
  • All deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods.

Further, for the purposes of the act, public disorder means a riot or other civil disturbance that gives rise to a serious risk to public safety, whether at a single location or resulting from a series of incidents in the same or different locations.

Actions that might constitute malicious damage not only includes destruction of property, but can also include acts that prevent the use of property, such as deleting items from a computer hard drive. In addition to this, actions relating to defacing, altering or marking property might also constitute malicious damage, as the damage need not be permanent.

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