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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10944
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Our neighbour has called the police stating my husband

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Our neighbour has called the police stating my husband damaged her shed when he was cutting our paddock on his tractor. She claims it's been knocked off its concrete slabs which caused it to tilt. This lady has reported criminal damage offence. My husband does not believe he went anywhere near her shed but did say the only way he could of accidentally knocked it would have been the tree trunk belonging to neighbour has been knocked against tractor which in turn has knocked shed. This tree trunk fell during high winds last year and has not been dealt with by said neighbour. My question is is this really grounds for ' criminal damage'? prosecution ?
Why said neighbour did not just contact us and we work together I do not know but to call police and say my husband has caused ' criminal ' damage is beyond me.
In your opinion does she have any grounds for this?
We are also unsure of when this is supposed to have happened exact date, it could have been our gardener who knocked into log whilst using tractor so how can she say my husband caused criminal damage?
We asked gardener and he has no recollection of hitting anything whilst on tractor.
For arguments sake let's say gardener or husband unknowingly damaged her shed, then surely it can be criminal damage offence but accidental?

1. Dear Sonya, at the outset, in order that there be a conviction for criminal damage, there would have to be some positive act on the part of your husband to damage your neighbour's shed. His tractor knocking against the trunk of a tree is not a positive act on his part which would give rise to liability on his part. Additionally, he would have to had intentionally sought to damage her shed. Doing so accidentally does not constitute criminal damage. So, here, the police are likely to give the deaf ear to what your neighbour says. She is over reacting and exaggerating what has happened here and the police are likely to have little interest in her claims of criminal damage.

2. Additionally, if the gardener has accidentally caused harm to her shed, this again would not constitute criminal damage. Doing something accidentally does not constitute criminal damage unless the person was reckless. So again, your gardener has nothing to worry about. What I would suggest here is that you or someone else meet with this neighbour and see if something can be done to restore orderly neighbourly relations. Complaining to the police when there is little cause does nothing for relations.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Unfortunately this neighbour who thankfully lives a distance from use as we have a couple of acres of land between us, has no intention of acting reasonably, on numerous occasions she demanded my husband does not cut our own paddocks as she likes to look out her kitchen window at the wild flowers, she's also wasted police time in ringing them to end our once a year summer party due to noise at 10pm, the police have always agreed with us regarding this neighbours ridiculous actions.
The officer told me today once I explained my husband did not damage her shed, that as she is claiming criminal damage he will have to come to police station. My husband is happy to talk to police but is unhappy about having to go into station, surely a telephone conversation is good enough?.
I do agree that the police will just not bother with this as its a community officer who is dealing with it and as she couldn't get hold of my husband today she is ringing to ask him to come to station some time next week. Is he within in his rights to refuse to do this? Can this not be dealt with over the phone?

4. Your husband can refuse to go to the police station. HOwever, this merely means that he will be arrested at some point and taken forcibly to the police station to answer questions. Accordingly, I would suggest it is much wiser to simply attend when it is suitable. You should seek to maintain police goodwill in this, as otherwise, things could go downhill fast. Don't be as unreasonable as your neighbour. Whilst a telephone call might seem sufficient, I would advise you to keep the police on your side and not to be perceived as being part of the problem by the police. Maintain goodwill.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will do thank you

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