Destroying or Damaging Commonwealth Property

– section 29 of the Crimes Act 1914

Destroying or Damaging Commonwealth Property
This offence has been repealed. It is replaced by 132.8A of the Criminal Code 1995.
 
Destroying or Damaging Commonwealth Property is when you damage or destroy property that belongs to the Federal government.

Examples of Destroying or Damaging Commonwealth Property
  • A group of people spray paint a tank with peace symbols
  • Someone breaks the window of a Minister’s car
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Destroying or Damaging Commonwealth Property?
  • You did not damage or destroy the property
  • You did not intentionally damage or destroy the property

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Was any property damaged or destroyed?
  • Can they prove you were connected with the damage?
  • Did you intend to damage or destroy the property?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 10 years.
This is a very serious offence which is heard in the County Court; however sometimes it will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

“Can they prove you damaged or destroyed property?”
What is the legal definition of Destroying or Damaging Commonwealth Property?

Intentionally destroying or damaging property belonging to the Commonwealth. Or to any public authority under the Commonwealth.

Legislation

The section that covers this offence is section 29 of the Crimes Act 1914.1

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

Your sentence will depend on the kind of damage caused to the property or what kind of property was destroyed. If the property is important and has been completely destroyed, then you may face imprisonment. However if there is only minor damage to property then you are more likely to be fined or placed on a Community Corrections Order.

 


[1] Crimes Act 1914 – Section 29

(1) Any person who intentionally destroys or damages any property, whether real or personal, belonging to the Commonwealth or to any public authority under the Commonwealth, commits an offence.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.
(2) For the purposes of an offence against subsection (1), absolute liability applies to the physical element of circumstance of the offence, that the property is property belonging to the Commonwealth or to any public authority under the Commonwealth.