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Destroy, Damage or in Any Way Interfere With Any Works of a Water Corporation

A person will be charged with Destroying, Damaging or Interfering with any Works of a Water Corporation to protect property belonging to a water corporation. For example, a person will be charged if he/she damages or interferes with fire hydrants or water pipes without an authority to do so.
This charge is a summary matter and is dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court. Whether you should contest or enter a plea of guilty to the court depends on the circumstances of the allegations against you. Contact one of our lawyers as soon as you are charged to discuss your prospects of successfully contesting your charges.
Elements of the offence
As this is a criminal offence, the burden is on the Prosecution to prove the following offences beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That an accused destroyed, damaged, removed, altered or in any way interfered, with any works or other property, whether real or personal property; and
  2. The property belongs to, or is under the control and management of, a water corporation authority.
Examples of Destroy, Damage or in Any Way Interfere with Any Works of a Water Corporation
  • Damaging a water pipe
  • Interfering with a fire hydrant
  • Deliberately damaging a fire hydrant
The legislation for this offence is section 288(1) of the Water Act 1989.
The following defence are available to a person charged with this offence:

  • Reasonable mistake of belief
  • Necessity
  • Lack of intent
  • Sudden or extraordinary emergency
  • Factual dispute
Questions in cases like this
  • Did you have permission to interfere with the hydrant?
  • Was it in fact you who damaged the water pipe?
  • Is the property damaged?

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty a Court can impose for the offence of Destroy, Damage or in Any Way Interfere with Any Works of a Water Corporation (s288(1) of the Water Act 1989) is a fine of 60 penalty units (around $9,600) or six months imprisonment.

Subsequent offending of this nature can attract a fine of 120 penalty units ($19,300) or 12 months imprisonment.

If a person’s conduct continues to damage the property, they may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $805 for each day which the offence continues I addition to the penalties stated above.1 This is capped at $3,220.2

These penalties reflect the seriousness of this offence.