http://www.scottishlegal.com/2017/05/25/honest-belief-in-joint-ownership-of-property-not-a-reasonable-excuse-for-vandalism-sheriff-rules/

 

Interesting judgement from Sheriff Mann at Peterhead Sheriff Court. The accused was charged with vandalism to a motor vehicle.

 Section 52 of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 states:

“…any person who, without reasonable excuse, wilfully or recklessly destroys or damages any property belonging to another shall be guilty of the offence of vandalism.”

The vehicle had been owned jointly by the accused and her former partner but the relationship ended. The accused’s partner continued to drive the vehicle but did not, according to the accused continue to contribute to ‘joint debts’, including the debt for the car. She ultimately vented her anger and frustration by striking the car repeatedly with an ‘unknown object’ until the windscreen smashed.

At the time the damage was caused, the car belonged to a third party, but the accused said she had not received any notification that the vehicle had been sold and as far as she was concerned it was still jointly owned by her and her former partner.

The question for the court was whether a ‘honest belief’ that she was still (joint) owner of the vehicle would make any charge of vandalism invalid.

Alas, the Sheriff held that it did not.

The full judgement can be read here.  http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/search-judgments/judgment?id=3b3d2ea7-8980-69d2-b500-ff0000d74aa7

A useful read for any law student. ( That is my way of saying to my law students – read the article !)

 

Thanks for stopping by now……

 

Mr. O

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