Gayford v Chouler – Case Summary

Gayford v Chouler

High Court

Citations: [1898] 1 QB 316.


The defendant trespassed on the complainants land, trampling on his long grass. He was charged and convicted of malicious damage, a precursor to the modern offence of criminal damage.

  1. Had the defendant caused ‘damage’ to the complainant’s property?

The Court upheld the conviction. The defendant had damaged the complainant’s grass.

This Case is Authority For…

Even relatively minimal forms of damage can suffice to establish a criminal damage offence.


This case was decided before the enactment of the Criminal Damage Act 1971. However, it is likely still of persuasive value regarding how ‘damage’ should be interpreted under that Act.