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Possession With Intent to Destroy or Damage Property

Possession with Intent to Destroy or Damage Property is an offence under Section 200 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison.

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

  1. You had possession, custody or control of an item, and
  2. You intended to use the item to destroy or damage property which belonged to another person, or belonged to you or the person who used the item, and another person

The maximum penalty increases to 5 years in prison where the item was used during a public disorder or 7 years where the item was an explosive or 9 years where the item was an explosive and was used during a public disorder.

A ‘public disorder’ means a riot or other civil disturbance that gives rise to a serious risk to public safety whether at a single location or resulting from a series of incidents in the same or different locations.

A ‘riot’ is where 12 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose and their conduct would cause a reasonable person to fear for their personal safety.

Defences to the charge include:

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

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