Arson

by Doogue O'Brien George Criminal Defence Lawyers

The Maximum Penalty for Arson in Melbourne – How Serious is This Offence?

There is a maximum penalty of either 10 or 15 years of imprisonment depending on the particular form of arson with which a person has been charged. The latter (15 years) may be imposed only if the defendant had the intent to endanger the life of a person. However, these maximum penalties are rarely imposed by Courts as they are reserved for only the most serious cases of Arson. Arson is a very serious offence which normally carries a prison term on a finding of guilt. As it is an indictable offence, it is primarily heard in the County Court.

 

The legislation on Arson

Section 197 of the Crimes Act 1958 is the relevant legislative provision and is as follows:

                         

Destroying or Damaging Property

                      

(1)   A person who intentionally and without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another or to himself and another shall be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).

 

(2)   A person who intentionally and without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property, intending by the destruction or damage to endanger the life of another, shall be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 4 imprisonment (15 years maximum).

 

(3)   A person who dishonestly, with a view to gain for himself or another, destroys or damages any property shall be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).

 

(4)   For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) a person who destroys or damages property shall be taken as doing so intentionally if, but only if-

 

(a)  his purpose or one of his purposes is to destroy or damage property; or

(b)  he knows or believes that his conduct is more likely than not to result in destruction of or damage to property.

 

(5)   For the purposes of subsection (2), a person who destroys or damages property shall be treated as intending thereby to endanger the life of another if, but only if-

 

(a)  his purpose or one of his purposes is to endanger the life of another by the destruction or damage; or

(b)  he knows or believes that the life of another is more likely than not to be endangered by the destruction or damage.

 

(6)   An offence against this section committed by destroying or damaging property by fire shall be charged as arson.

 

(7)   A person guilty of arson is liable to level 4 imprisonment (15 years maximum) despite anything to the contrary in this section.

 

Pleading guilty or not guilty to Arson in a Melbourne Court

Deciding whether to plead guilty or not guilty to Arson has important implications for you and should only be made after proper discussions with a criminal defence solicitor. If you are found guilty, you are likely to face severe consequences.

 

Elements of the charge of Arson in a Melbourne Court

The prosecution must show that there has been damage to a property, that the damage was caused by fire, and that the property must have belonged, if only in part, to another person. For an offence to warrant a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 15 years, the defendant must have intended to endanger the life of another person.

 

Defending the charge of Arson in a Melbourne Court

Defences that are often run in response to this charge include factual and/or identification dispute, lack of intent, and that the defendant was the sole owner of the property in question. It is also a defence if the defendant did not intend to endanger the life of a person.

 

For more information on Arson, you may visit the Doogue O’Brien George Melbourne Criminal Lawyers site (here).

 

Doogue O’Brien George Melbourne can provide you more details about this

Our Head Office is at 5/221 Queen Street, Melbourne

Phone (03) 9670 5111 (24 hrs if you are in a Police Station)

 

This article was written on Sep. 16 2013 and relates to the law that stands at this time.



Findlaw

We welcome your feedback

Hi there! We want to make this site as good as it can for you, the user. Please tell us what you would like to do differently and we will do our best to accommodate!

   
Protected by FormShield


 
 
We've updated our Privacy Statement, before you continue. please read our new Privacy Statement and familiarise yourself with the terms.