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Was the property your own?
What did you kill specifically?
They are not going to charge you with criminal damage over that.
In legal theory it could be a criminal damage. There is no defence in saying that you considered it yours. It might be a defence to say that you had a mistake but reasonable belief that an item belonged to you but that isn't what happened here.
But as a matter of practice they are not going to charge you for criminal damage for destroying some grass.
Also, it appears to me that they would have to prove that you damaged it irrepairably or that the landlord was put to cost in putting it right. This grass will grow back.
Can I clarify anything for you?
But the problem here is that you didn't believe it was yours.
You might well have taken the view you were entitled to do this for lots of reasons but that doesn't mean that you had any belief that this grass was your own
I suppose you could argue the law implies knowledge but it is a difficult argument to run.
There is a mens rea in any criminal offence.
I see that you have given my colleague a negative rating.
Let me see if I can assist a little further. There is case law that may assist you.
Jaggard v Dickinson (1980) QBD.
It was to do with criminal damage where the defendant broke into a house which she thought belonged to her friend but it did not. The friend would have consented to her breaking in and hence, because he made the mistake of thinking that it was her friends house and there was consent, she got found not guilty.
Your particular case provided you have an honest belief and you can prove to the satisfaction of the court that you had an honest belief, but the land was really yours, then you could escape prosecution for criminal damage.
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I must admit, I do agree with everything that my colleague has said.
There is an issue with regard to ownership of the grass. You don’t own the grass.
We are getting onto land law now.
As soon as you put the grass on the land it became part of the land and no longer belonged to you and hence, you are not entitled to kill it. In exactly the same way that if someone puts window frames into a building, even if they have a clause which says goods remain the property of the seller until paid for in full, they are not entitled to take them because they have become part of the building.
The situation with the grass is the same. The grass is part of the land.
You can still rely on the case of Jaggard because although the is quite specific on this, you had reasonable belief that you owned the grass albeit that it was a mistaken belief.
I think it’s important that you refer to the case law because the case law supports exactly your defence.
With regard to them bringing a charge for this, stranger things have happened.
A lot will depend on the extent of it and if you weed killed the whole lawn, they are likely to do so.
However if you raise the caselaw with them, in my opinion, they would be well advised to drop it because from your facts, and with that caselaw, you would be found not guilty. It depends if the court believes the point that you reasonably believed that the grass was yours.