There is generally no time limit for criminal proceedings whereas civil proceedings are subject to varying time limits.
The criminal law is an institution for censuring people for wrongs not misfortunes and a crime requires a certain consequence to have been caused by the act.
Thus in ‘criminal damage’, the act must cause damage. What constitutes criminal damage is a matter of fact and degree and it is for the justices, applying their common sense, to decide whether what occurred was damage or not.
When I purchased my property I started from a lawful base.
Dover District Council (DDC) commenced a chain of events that they knew would result in the complete destruction of my home. By a combination of act and word they created and exposed me to a foreseeable risk of excessive damage and loss when they set out to destroy my property and through their instrumentality that event occurred.
DDC had knowledge of the circumstances and foresight of consequences and in addition their conduct was voluntary and wilful.
The Criminal Damage Act 1971 relating to Destroying or Damaging property states:
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.
I submit that the ‘defence of lawful excuse’ cannot apply in this case. DDC were responsible for complying with the Town and Country Planning Act and it was incumbent upon them to do it efficiently and accurately. They did not follow the correct procedure as laid down in the Town and Country Planning Act and their omission led to the complete destruction of my home which would not have occurred had DDC acted in performance of their duty.
I can show that DDC committed a malicious act which made a more than negligible contribution to its occurrence. Their action was neither too remote, too trivial nor too accidental to have a joint bearing on their liability or on the gravity of their offence and which was the sole cause of the destruction of my home.
DDC purposely and knowingly caused damage of a high value; the complete destruction of my property.
I can also demonstrate that they omitted to do an act which would have prevented its occurrence and which they were under a duty to do according to law. There was a statutory duty that they wilfully and deliberately left unperformed. A public officer commits a misdemeanour when he wilfully neglects to perform a duty which he is bound by statute to perform. Evidence shows that the neglect was wilful and not merely inadvertent. Culpable in the sense that it was without reasonable excuse or justification.
DDC being specialists in the field of planning law are bound to higher skill and diligence than those who are not specialists. As specialists they owe a duty of care to carry out their procedures correctly and to observe the correct standards. They knowingly and maliciously pursued the incorrect procedure when taking enforcement action against me in the first instance and as a Statutory Public Authority they had both a moral and legal duty to prevent the unlawful appropriation, destruction and damage of my property. A Statutory Public Authority is liable for careless advice or information, for failures to take action to avoid harm and for failures of supervisory or regulatory functions.
DDC carried out a physical act when they destroyed my home and factual causation is established because, ‘but for’ DDC’s conduct the damage would not have resulted.
DDC’s intention was clear; it was to completely destroy my home and that intention to destroy was decided by the Paid Employee Advisers within 3 weeks of my purchasing the property.
In law the term ‘damage’ includes not only permanent or temporary physical harm but also permanent or temporary impairment of value or usefulness. Various court rulings have held that any alteration to the physical nature of the property concerned may amount to damage within the meaning of the law and where interference with property amounts to an impairment to the value or the usefulness of the property to the owner, then the necessary damage is established.
Certainly the value of my property was damaged and as the property no longer existed its use in providing living accommodation ceased; it therefore lost its usefulness.