Criminal Law in Solomon Islands
Table Of Contents
This chapter will examine the offences of 'Wilful and Unlawful Damage', as provided for by section 326(1) of the Penal Code (Ch. 26). As regards 'Special Cases of Wilful and Unlawful Damage' reference should be made to the other subsections of section 326.
When interpreting any section of the Penal Code (Ch. 26), section 3 must be considered. That section states:
'This Code shall be interpreted in accordance with the Interpretation and General Provisions Act and the principles of legal interpretation obtaining in England, and expressions used in it shall be presumed, so far as is consistent with their context, and except as may be otherwise expressly provided, to be used with the meaning attaching to them in English criminal law and shall be construed in accordance therewith.' (emphasis added)
Section 326(1) of the Penal Code (Ch. 26) states:
'Any person who wilfully and unlawfully destroys or damages any property is guilty of an offence, which, unless otherwise stated, is a misdemeanour, and he shall be liable, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for two years.'
[25.2] Wording Of Charges
'[Name of Defendant] at [Place] on [Date] did wilfully and unlawfully [destroy or damage] property to wit [specify the property] the property of [specify the name of the complainant].'
The term 'Wilfully' is not defined in the Penal Code (Ch. 26) or the Interpretation & General Provisions Act (Ch. 85).
Intention which is a state of mind, can never be proved as a fact, it can only be inferred from other facts which are proved, see Sinnasamy Selvanayagam v R  AC 83 at page 87, if there are no admissions.
If there are no admissions, to be found guilty of the offences as provided for in section 326 of the Penal Code (Ch. 26), 'the only rational inference open to the Court to find in the light of the evidence' must be that the defendant intended to either destroy or damage the property in question', see R v Dudley Pongi (Unrep. Criminal Case No. 40 of 1999; Muria CJ; at page 22).
The law relating to 'Circumstantial Evidence' is examined commencing on page 183.
Intentional or unintentional intoxication may be considered for the purpose of determining whether the defendant had the necessary 'intent' at the time of the commission of the offence, see section 13(4) of the Penal Code (Ch. 26).
The defence of 'Intoxication' is examined commencing on page 444.
The term 'Unlawfully' is not defined in the Penal Code (Ch. 26) or the Interpretation & General Provisions Act (Ch. 85).
The term 'Destroy' is not defined in the Penal Code (Ch. 26) or the Interpretation & General Provisions Act (Ch. 85).
The term 'Damage' is not defined in the Penal Code (Ch. 26) or the Interpretation & General Provisions Act (Ch. 85).
The term 'Property' is defined in section 4 of the Penal Code (Ch. 26) as including:
'any description of real and personal property, money, debts and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and also includes not only such property as has been originally in the possession or under the control of any person, but also any property into or for which the same has been converted or exchanged, and anything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.'
Reference should also be made to subsections (2) to (7) of section 326 of the Penal Code (Ch. 26) as regards 'Malicious Injuries To Property In Special Cases'.
The jurisdiction of the courts in respect of the offences of 'Wilful Damage Or Destruction' is examined commencing on page 14.
The law relating to 'Sentencing' in respect of that offence is examined commencing on page 918.
The following are related offences as provided for in the Penal Code (Ch. 26):
· 'Wilful Damage, etc, To Survey & Boundary Marks', section 330 of the Penal Code (Ch. 26).
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