Criminal Damage Act, 1991


1.—(1) In this Act—

“compensation order” has the meaning assigned to it by section 9 (1);

“to damage” includes—

(a) in relation to property other than data (but including a storage medium in which data are kept), to destroy, deface, dismantle or, whether temporarily or otherwise, render inoperable or unfit for use or prevent or impair the operation of,

(b) in relation to data—

(i) to add to, alter, corrupt, erase or move to another storage medium or to a different location in the storage medium in which they are kept (whether or not property other than data is damaged thereby), or

(ii) to do any act that contributes towards causing such addition, alteration, corruption, erasure or movement,

(c) to do any act within the State that damages property outside the State,

(d) to do any act outside the State that damages property within the State, and

(e) to make an omission causing damage,

and cognate words shall be construed accordingly;

“data” means information in a form in which it can be accessed by means of a computer and includes a program;

“property” means—

(a) property of a tangible nature, whether real or personal, including money and animals that are capable of being stolen, and

(b) data.

(2) Property shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as belonging to any person—

(a) having lawful custody or control of it,

(b) having in it any proprietary right or interest (not being an equitable interest arising only from an agreement to transfer or grant an interest), or

(c) having a charge over it.

(3) Where, as respects an offence under section 2 , 3 (a) or 4 (a)

(a) the property concerned is a family home within the meaning of the Family Home Protection Act, 1976 , and

(b) the person charged—

(i) is the spouse of a person who resides, or is entitled to reside, in the home, and

(ii) is the subject of a protection order or barring order (within the meaning in each case of the Family Law (Protection of Spouses and Children) Act, 1981 ) or is excluded from the home pursuant to an order under section 16 (a) of the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act, 1989 , or any other order of a court,

sections 2 , 3 (a) and 4 (a) shall have effect as if the references therein to any property belonging to another, however expressed, were references to the home.

(4) Where property is subject to a trust, the persons to whom the property belongs shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as including any person having a right to enforce the trust.

(5) Property of a corporation sole shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as belonging to the corporation notwithstanding a vacancy in it.

(6) In this Act—

(a) a reference to any enactment shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as a reference to that enactment as amended or extended by or under any subsequent enactment including this Act,

(b) a reference to a section is a reference to a section of this Act unless it is indicated that reference to some other enactment is intended,

(c) a reference to a subsection, paragraph or subparagraph is a reference to the subsection, paragraph or subparagraph of the provision in which the reference occurs unless it is indicated that reference to some other provision is intended.