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Other related offences

Offences under the summary offences act that are similar to tho Graffiti Prevention Act.

Several offences created under the Summary Offences Act 1996 can be used to charge people who create graffiti. These are rarely used now that the Graffiti Prevention Act 2007 can be used.

Wilful property damage (rare)

It is an offence for a person to damage any property (if the damage to property is valued at less than $5,000). The property may be public or private. This could include damage by creating graffiti.

A person could be charged with wilful property damage instead of (or in addition to) a charge of criminal damage.

It could also be used where it may be difficult to prove that the person intended to create the damage. For example, where some young people throw rocks over a bridge and hit a car, it may be very hard to prove that they intended to hit the car.

See s. 9(1)(c)—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

Wilful trespass

The Act makes a distinction between public places, (defined in s. 3) and scheduled public places. People have a have a right to be in a public place unless they are asked to leave by the owner or by an authorised person.

If a person refuses to leave after a request is made by an authorised person, they could be charged with an offence.

See s. 9(1)(d)—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

Scheduled public places are listed in Schedule 1 of the Act. They include schools, kindergartens, cemeteries and community premises that house people with disabilities or mental health issues.

A person can be charged with an offence in a scheduled public place or a private place if they enter without express or implied permission to be there. Section 9(1C) gives examples of when a person may not have express or implied authority.

See s. 9(1)(e)(f), 9(1C)—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

Penalties

Maximum penalty for wilful damage or wilful trespass 9 is:

  • 25 penalty units or
  • 6 months jail

See ss. 3, 9(1)(g), Schedule 1—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

Bill posting (putting up posters)

It is an offence to post any bill, poster placard sticker or other document or to write or paint or deface any road bridge or footpath or any house, building fence, gate, tree, tree guard, pillar, hydrant, fire alarm petrol pump, or any other structure without the consent of the occupier or owner of the premises.

If the bill is promoting or advertising something (or other event of a commercial nature) both the manager and promoter could also be fined unless they can prove that they did not authorise or know about the posting.

The court may order that any person who is convicted of posting bills may be required to pay for the cost of removing or concealing (obliterating) anything written posted or painted.

Penalties

Maximum penalty for the offence is:

  • 15 penalty units or
  • 3 months jail

See s. 10—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

More information

Legislation

Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines public property
  • s. 9—wilfully destroying, damaging or injuring property trespass
  • s. 9(1)(c)—value of damage to property must be under $5,000
  • s. 10—posting bills and defacing property
  • Schedule 1—scheduled public place

See Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

Youthlaw—Legal information and factsheets

This specialist community legal centre that assists young people has a factsheet about police powers to search for graffiti implements.

  • 'Graffiti laws'

See Youthlaw—Legal information and factsheets(opens in a new window)

Updated