Criminal Liability Under the Criminal Damage Act 1971

One evening, when she thinks the gallery is empty, she sets fire to one of the dolls and leaves.In order to be able to discuss the criminal liability of Lisa and Shannon it is necessary to examine the Criminal Damage Act 1971 to determine the criteria that the Crown Prosecution Service will be considered in their charging decision.(1) 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 offense.Bringing a charge in this manner could prove problematic since the medium used to deface the dolls could be regarded as removable. Had Lisa used a permanent marker it would be easy to prove the allegation of criminal damage as the artwork would have been permanently destroyed.When considering whether charges for criminal damage should be brought against Lisa it is necessary to consider case law in this area. Given that the lipstick can easily be removed from the dolls it is likely that Lisa would argue that this should not be regarded as criminal damage as the damage is not permanent. This same defense was offered in the case of Roe v Kingerlee [1986]1 in which the appeal court decided that the justices had been wrong in their earlier decision where they had held that the smearing of mud on the prison cell walls could not be regarded as criminal damage. At the appeal the earlier case of A v R [1978]2 was cited as an authority that damage that can easily be removed should not be regarded as criminal damage. In this case the defendant had spat on the overcoat of a policeman. The judges decided that the spittle could easily be removed with a damp cloth and so, therefore, a charge of criminal damage could not be founded.Despite the ruling in A v R, the appeal court stated that this ruling did not set a precedent.