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Damaging or Destroying a Mail Receptacle, Article or Postal Message

Damaging or destroying a mail receptacle, article or postal message is an offence under section 471.6 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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

  1. You engaged in conduct
  2. Your conduct damaged or destroyed a mail receptable, article in the course of post or postal message, and
  3. You intended to cause the damage or destruction, or were reckless as to whether your conduct would do so.

Destruction encompasses physical loss through interference, it includes:

  1. The removal of any restraint over the item, and
  2. The abandonment of the item.

Damage includes defacing or causing loss of future use of the item through interference.

An ‘article in the course of post’ includes one that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered.

A ‘mail receptable’ includes a letter box or other item to which post is delivered.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk that the receptable, article or message would be destroyed or damaged by your conduct, and it was unjustifiable to take that risk but you went ahead regardless.

Duress and necessity are defences to the charge.

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