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Criminal Damage

Other Criminal Offences – WA

Welcome to the WA Criminal Damage article page. Everything you need to know about Criminal Damage according to WA Law.

What the Law states according to WA Law for Criminal Damage

According to WA Law for the charge of Criminal Damage:

Section 444: Any person who wilfully or unlawfully destroys or damages any property, is guilty of a crime.

“Unlawful” is defined in the Criminal Code as an act which causes injury to the property of another, and which is done without the other’s consent, is unlawful unless it is authorise, justified or excused by law.

“Wilfully destroy or damage” means where a person does an act or omits to do an act intending to destroy or damage property, or knowing or believing that the act is likely to destroy or damage property. If the act or omission results in the damage or destruction of property, the person is regarded to have wilfully destroyed or damaged the property.

The Maximum Penalty – Criminal Damage

According to WA Law for the charge of Criminal Damage:

If the matter is heard in the District Court, the maximum penalty is 10 years. If the destruction is by fire, the maximum penalty is 14 years. If the destruction occurs in circumstances of racial aggravation, the penalty is also 14 years. In circumstances where the destruction is by fire and in circumstances of racial aggravation, the maximum penalty is 20 years.

If the destruction of property is not by fire and the damage to the property is less than $25,000 in value, the matter can be dealt with in the Magistrates Court and the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment and a $36,000 fine.

What the Police must prove according to WA Law for Criminal Damage

(1) That the accused destroyed or damaged property;
(2) That the damage or destruction was unlawful; and
(3) That the damage or destruction was intended and wilful.

Possible Defences under WA Law – Criminal Damage

(a) Insanity;
(b) Duress;
(c) Emergency;
(d) Accident;
(e) Lack of intention to wilfully do damage or destruction; and
(f) Identification (ie. the accused is not the person who damaged the property).

In WA which court will hear the matter – Criminal Damage

The matter will be heard in the Magistrates Court or the District Court.

Criminal damage is an ‘either-way’ offence. Therefore, the offence is most often dealt with in the Magistrate’s Court. However, if the damage is particularly serious, or if the offender is also facing other charges which are dealt with in the District Court, then the Prosecution can make an application for the damage charge to be committed to the District Court.

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