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[9th March 1977]
1.—(1) This Order may be cited as the Criminal Damage (Northern Ireland) Order 1977.
2.—(1) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 [1954 c.33] shall apply to Article 1 and the following provisions of this Order as it applies to a Measure of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
(2) In this Order “statutory provision” has the meaning assigned to it by section 1( f) of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954.
3.—(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 offence.
(2) A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property, whether belonging to himself or another—
(a)intending to destroy or damage any property or being reckless as to whether any property would be destroyed or damaged; and
(b)intending by the destruction or damage to endanger the life of another or being reckless as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered;
shall be guilty of an offence.
(3) An offence committed under this Article by destroying or damaging property by fire shall be charged as arson.
4. A person who without lawful excuse makes to another a threat, intending that that other would fear it would be carried out,—
(a)to destroy or damage any property belonging to that other or a third person; or
(b)to destroy or damage his own property in a way which he knows is likely to endanger the life of that other or a third person;
shall be guilty of an offence.
5. A person who has anything in his custody or under his control intending without lawful excuse to use it or cause or permit another to use it—
(a)to destroy or damage any property belonging to some other person; or
(b)to destroy or damage his own or the user's property in a way which he knows is likely to endanger the life of some other person;
shall be guilty of an offence.
6.—(1) A person guilty of arson under Article 3 or of an offence under Article 3(2) (whether arson or not) shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for life.
7.—(1) This Article applies to any offence under Article 3(1) or Article 3(1) and (3) and any offence under Article 4 or 5 other than one involving a threat by the person charged to destroy or damage property in a way which he knows is likely to endanger the life of another or involving an intent by the person charged to use or cause or permit the use of something in his custody or under his control so to destroy or damage property.
(2) A person charged with an offence to which this Article applies shall, whether or not he would be treated for the purposes of this Order as having a lawful excuse apart from this paragraph, be treated for those purposes as having a lawful excuse—
(a)if at the time of the act or acts alleged to constitute the offence he believed that the person or persons whom he believed to be entitled to consent to the destruction of or damage to the property in question had so consented, or would have so consented to it if he or they had known of the destruction or damage and its circumstances; or
(b)if he destroyed or damaged or threatened to destroy or damage the property in question or, in the case of a charge of an offence under Article 5, intended to use or cause or permit the use of something to destroy or damage it, in order to protect property belonging to himself or another or a right or interest in property which was or which he believed to be vested in himself or another, and at the time of the act or acts alleged to constitute the offence he believed—
(i)that the property, right or interest was in immediate need of protection; and
(ii)that the means of protection adopted or proposed to be adopted were or would be reasonable having regard to all the circumstances.
(3) For the purposes of this Article it is immaterial whether a belief is justified or not if it is honestly held.
(4) For the purposes of paragraph (2) a right or interest in property includes any right or privilege in or over land, whether created by grant, licence or otherwise.
(5) This Article shall not be construed as casting doubt on any defence recognised by law as a defence to criminal charges.
8.—(1) If it is made to appearF2... before a justice of the peace that there is reasonable cause to believe that any person has in his custody or under his control or on his premises anything which there is reasonable cause to believe has been used or is intended for use without lawful excuse—
(a)to destroy or damage property belonging to another; or
(b)to destroy or damage any property in a way likely to endanger the life of another,
the justice may grant a warrant authorising any constable to search for and seize that thing.
(2) A constable who is authorised under this Article to search premises for anything, may enter (if need be by force) and search the premises accordingly and may seize anything which he believes to have been used or to be intended to be used as aforesaid.
(3) [F3Section 31 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998]F3 (disposal of property in the possession of the police) shall apply to property which has come into the possession of a constable under this Article as it applies to property which has come into the possession of the police in the circumstances mentioned in[F3 that section]F3.
9.—(1) A person charged with any offence under Article 3(1) or Article 3(1) and (3) or Article 4 or 5 may, if the prosecutor consents, be tried summarily for that offence, and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding[F4 level 5 on the standard scale]F4 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
Para. (2) rep. by 1981 NI 26
(3) No rule of law ousting the jurisdiction of magistrates' courts to try offences where a dispute of title to property is involved shall preclude magistrates' courts from trying offences under this Order, or any other offences of destroying or damaging property.
Art. 10 rep. by 1980 NI 6
(a)from answering any question put to that person in proceedings for the recovery or administration of any property, for the execution of any trust or for an account of any property or dealings with property; or
(b)from complying with any order made in any such proceedings;
but no statement or admission made by a person in answering a question put or complying with an order made as aforesaid shall, in proceedings for an offence under this Order, be admissible in evidence against that person or (unless they[F5 married or became civil partners after the making of the statement or admission) against the spouse or civil partner]F5 of that person.
12.—(1) In this Order “property” means property of a tangible nature, whether real or personal, including money and—
(a)including wild creatures which have been tamed or are ordinarily kept in captivity, and any other wild creatures or their carcasses if, but only if, they have been reduced into possession which has not been lost or abandoned or are in the course of being reduced into possession; but
(b)not including mushrooms growing wild on any land or flowers, fruit or foliage of a plant growing wild on any land,
and for the purposes of this paragraph “mushroom” includes any fungus and “plant” includes any shrub or tree.
(2) Property shall be treated for the purposes of this Order as belonging to any person—
(a)having the custody or control of it;
(b)having in it any proprietary right or interest (not being an equitable interest arising only from an agreement to transfer or grant an interest); or
(c)having a charge on it.
(3) Where property is subject to a trust, the persons to whom it belongs shall be so treated as including any person having a right to enforce the trust.
(4) Property of a corporation sole shall be so treated as belonging to the corporation notwithstanding a vacancy in the corporation.
[F6(5) For the purposes of this Order a modification of the contents of a computer shall not be regarded as damaging any computer or computer storage medium unless its effect on that computer or computer storage medium impairs its physical condition.F6]
13.—(1) The common law offence of arson is hereby abolished.
Para.(2) adds para.3(h) to sch. to 1952 c.67;
Para.(3) amends s.26(1) and repeals s.26(2)(5) of 1953 c.3 (NI)
Para.(4) rep. by 1981 NI 2
Para.(5) rep. by 1978 c.5
(6) The statutory provisions mentioned in Schedule 2 are hereby repealed to the extent specified in column 3 thereof; and where any such statutory provision has been applied by or incorporated in any other statutory provision the repeal shall extend so as to repeal that statutory provision as so applied or incorporated.
(7) Where it appears to the Secretary of State that any provision of a local Act or of any instrument made thereunder is inconsistent with or has become unnecessary in consequence of this Order he may, after consultation with any person appearing to him to be concerned with that provision, by order amend that provision so as to bring it into conformity with this Order or repeal it.
(8) An order made under paragraph (7) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament in like manner as a statutory instrument and section 5 of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 [1946 c.36] shall apply accordingly.
(9) Without prejudice to the operation of section 28 of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 [1954 c.33] (effect of repeal), the repeal by this Article or an order under paragraph (7) of any statutory provision relating to procedure or to the jurisdictional powers of any court shall not affect the operation of that statutory provision in relation to offences committed before the repeal takes effect or to proceedings for any such offence.
Paras. (10), (11) rep. by 1991 NI 16
Schedule 1 sets out s.26(1)(as am.) of 1953 c.3 (NI)
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