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Fundamina

On-line version ISSN 2411-7870
Print version ISSN 1021-545X

Abstract

HOCTOR, Shannon. Criminalisation of damage to property by South African common-law crimes. Fundamina (Pretoria) [online]. 2019, vol.25, n.2, pp.35-67. ISSN 2411-7870.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2411-7870/2019/v25n2a3.

This contribution examines the common-law crimes of malicious injury to property and arson. The current definitions of the crimes are set out, before the historical development of each crime is critically evaluated. In the concluding part, the nature and structure of the crimes are explored in the context of the rationales underpinning the crimes. It is submitted that despite the expansion of the crime of arson through case law not being in accordance with the purpose of the crime, the current definition of this crime has been settled. It is, however, contended that the wider definition of malicious injury to property, flowing from certain cases and academic interpretation, is not similarly entrenched in South African law and that any similar extension to the ambit of this crime therefore should not form part of the current definition.

Keywords : malicious injury to property; arson; damage to property; case precedent.

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