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Causing Damage to Sea, River or Canal

Causing Damage to Sea, River or Canal is an offence under section 202 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You destroyed, damaged, removed or interfered with piles or other materials that form part of, or have been fixed or placed into position to secure, a:
    a. Sea wall or similar structure
    b. Bank or bed of a dam, weir or lock on a river or canal
    c. Drain, aqueduct, marsh or reservoir, or
    d. Dock, quay, wharf, jetty or other harbour installation, or you opened a floodgate or sluice on or at a damn, weir, reservoir or watercourse, and
  1. You did so intentionally or recklessly.

Alternatively, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You interfered with or obstructed the flow of a river canal, or you damaged or interfered with the bank or bed of a river or canal, and
  2. You did so intending to obstruct or hinder vessels or boats.

Alternatively, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

You destroyed, damaged or interfered with a structure or equipment.

Constructed or installed in connection with  the use of a river or canal for navigational purposes.

A ‘vessel’ is defined as a water craft of any description used, or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.

‘Interfere with’ includes alter, deface, remove, obliterate, conceal or add.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress
  2. Necessity, and
  3. Self defence.

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