Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Intentionally Damaging Property ( Wilful Damage )
Intentionally Damaging Property, commonly called Wilful Damage, is a serious offence in Queensland which, depending on the circumstances, can attract significant penalties. The seriousness of the offence is determined with reference to the type of property which is damaged and/or the method by which it is damaged.
Depending on the type of property which is damaged, and the way in which the damage is caused, you might also be charged with a more serious offence of Damaging Property in a ‘Special Case’.
The Offence of Wilful Damage
Subsection 469(1) of the Queensland Criminal Code creates the offence:
“Any person who wilfully and unlawfully destroys or damages any property is guilty of an offence, unless otherwise stated, is a misdemeanour, and the person is liable, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for 5 years.”
Wilful Damage is the simplest form of Damaging Property and is punishable by a maximum 5 years imprisonment, though fines and other penalties can also be imposed. In addition to any penalty it is common for a court to order that a person pay to fix the damage which they caused or pay compensation in an appropriate amount.
What Actions Might Constitute Wilful Damage?
The offence of wilful damage is commonly committed where a person engages in a deliberate act, either with the intention of causing damage to property or with reckless disregard as to the risk of damage.
An example of a deliberate act might be a person who uses a key or coin to scratch the paintwork on a car belonging to someone they dislike.
An example of a reckless act might be a person who uses a motor vehicle to ‘do donuts’ on a sports field and thereby damages the grass and underlying irrigation infrastructure.
Will I Get A Criminal Conviction for Wilful Damage?
Depending on the circumstances it might be possible to avoid a criminal conviction for wilful damage, particularly where the offence is committed by a young person with no previous criminal convictions.
If you have been charged with wilful damage it is important that you seek legal advice and/or representation at an early stage in order to maximise your opportunity to avoid the recording of a criminal conviction against your name.
What the Police Must Prove
The damage that is caused has to be both wilful and unlawful which means that any damage caused as a result of an accident, or for which there is a lawful justification, will likely not give rise to an offence.
To convict you of the charge Wilful Damage, the police must prove that you:
- Did something which damaged someone else’s property; and
- You did so intentionally and unlawfully.
Possible Defences for Wilful Damage
The following statutory defences might apply to a charge of wilful damage:
- Accident (meaning an absence of criminal intent)
- The accused was acting under compulsion or duress
- The offence was committed out of necessity
It is also a complete defence to a charge of wilful damage to establish, on the balance of probabilities, that the damage which was caused was accidental in circumstances where no reasonable person would foresee a risk of that damage arising from the offending conduct.
If you have been charged with wilful damage and you think you might have a defence to the charge, it is important that you obtain competent and specialist legal advice at an early stage.
Wilful Damage in Special Cases
There are 11 ‘special cases’ of Damaging Property which are treated more seriously than Wilful Damage and some of which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. In particular:
- Destroying or damaging premises by explosion (maximum penalty life imprisonment);
- Damaging seawalls (maximum penalty life imprisonment);
- Cause damage to a property in a cemetery or crematorium (maximum penalty 7 years imprisonment)
- Cause damage to an education institution (maximum penalty 7 years imprisonment)
- Cause damage by graffiti (maximum 7 years imprisonment)
- Cause damage to an official document, for example a title to land(maximum 7 years imprisonment)
- Cause damage to a will or other testamentary instrument (maximum penalty 14 years imprisonment)
- Cause damage to Aircraft or Railways (maximum penalty 14 years imprisonment in either case)
- Cause damage to a wreck or vessel in distress (maximum penalty 7 years imprisonment)
- Cause damage to ‘other things of special value’ which means property such as, a lighting beacon used for nautical navigation, a water bore, or agricultural machinery (maximum penalty 7 years imprisonment)
Destroying or Damaging Premises by Explosion
Punishable by a maximum life imprisonment, this offence is committed where property is unlawfully and wilfully damaged by means of an explosive in circumstances which actually endanger someone’s life.
Punishable by a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, this offence is committed where the property which is damaged is a sea wall or other dam-like structure the destruction of which causes an actual danger of flooding or inundation.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
A charge of wilful damage will often be heard in the Magistrates Court but it can be brought before the District Court in more serious circumstances.
All special cases of wilful damage are heard in the District Court (including the two special cases which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment).
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
WHY CHOOSE ARMSTRONG LEGAL?
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