Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Should DCC support a scheme that requires criminal damage to implement?

Ordinarily, if someone put a pick axe through your front window without your consent it would amount to criminal damage. Ordinarily, if someone cut down your tree without your consent, or cut through its roots knowing it would cause it to die, that would also amount to criminal damage.

We’ve already posted that AI’s site access plans still have a major problem; specifically, that Tree H - shown below - "is likely [to] be damaged by the development and need to be felled".

The tree is not unhealthy. It belongs to a third party, who has already objected. The third party will not consent to destruction or damage to their property.

Under the circumstances therefore, and based on advice we've received, any harm to this tree by Aggregate Industries is likely to constitute criminal damage.

Clearly, DCC should not be supporting a scheme that requires criminal damage for its implementation.

DCC is working on the assumption that it's only a civil matter. The County Solicitor thinks that any damage would be a private legal matter between the third party and AI.

This is of course the same County Solicitor who chose not to pursue AI on its failure "to notify owners of the land or buildings to which the application relates", not to pursue AI on its failure to produce an accurate ownership certificate - an offence "with a maximum fine of up to £5,000."

It makes you wonder whether DCC has any legal teeth? Because ordinarily:
the Criminal Damage Act 1971 [provides] a definition wide enough to apply to any tangible property. By section 1(1) of the Act:
A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.