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Threatening to Destroy or Damage Property

Threatening to Destroy or Damage Property is an offence under Section 199 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

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

  1. You threatened to destroy another person’s property
  2. You intended by doing so to cause the other person to fear that the threat would be carried out, and
  3. You did not have a lawful excuse for making the threat

Alternatively, the prosecution must prove that:

  1. You threatened to destroy or damage your own property
  2. You intended by doing so to cause another person to fear that the threat would be carried out
  3. The way in which you threatened to destroy or damage your own property was such that you knew such destruction or damage would, or would be likely to, endanger the life of, or cause bodily injury to, another person, and
  4. You did not have a lawful excuse for making the threat

The maximum penalty increases to 7 years in prison where you made the threat 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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