Criminal Damage Geelong
Our client visited her mother to discuss an ongoing dispute between family members. After spending some time discussing the family dispute with her mother, our client noticed that CCTV cameras had been installed at her mother’s house and were filming the two of them talking. Our client was concerned about her attendance at her mother’s address being filmed due to an ongoing conflict she had with another family member living at the address.
The client turned the CCTV camera away from the direction it was facing so that it was not filming in her direction. As a result of turning the CCTV camera it fell from its position and was damaged.
The damage to the CCTV camera was reported to police. After our client was interviewed by police she was charged with causing criminal damage to the CCTV camera. Criminal damage is an indictable offence that carries a 10 year maximum term of imprisonment. Our client had no criminal priors and was concerned about receiving a criminal record due to the impact this could potentially have on her ability to be employed and travel overseas.
The charge of criminal damage requires the police to prove that the damage caused was “intentionally” or “recklessly”. The definition in the act of intentional includes conduct that a person knows or believes is more likely than not to result in damage to property which is effectively recklessness. The police were putting the charge on this basis.
We attended Geelong Magistrates’ Court to conduct a summary case conference with the police. During negotiations at court we argued that the damage caused by our client to the CCTV camera was accidental and was neither intentional nor reckless.
The police were persuaded by this argument and agreed that the charge of criminal damage could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The charge was withdrawn by the police and our client avoided a criminal record and there was no further penalty.
This outcome demonstrates the benefit of being represented by a lawyer for your criminal matter. It is very important to have a lawyer that understands all the elements of a particular criminal charge and what the police must prove before the charge can be successfully prosecuted. We have a number of experienced criminal lawyers working out of our Geelong office.