Hardman v Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset – Case Summary

Hardman v Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset

Crown Court

Citations: [1986] Crim LR 330.


The defendants were climate protestors. As part of a protest, they used water soluble paint to paint silhouettes on public pavement. The paint was designed to wash away in rain water. Before this could happen, however, the local council arranged to have the pavement specially cleaned.

The defendants were charged with criminal damage. They argued that they were not guilty because they had not ‘damaged’ the pavement.

  1. Does using water soluble paint on property constitute damage?

The Court held that the defendants’ actions did constitute damage to the pavement.

This Case is Authority For…

Interference with property which puts the owner to expense and inconvenience can constitute ‘damage’ even if it can be reversed or will reverse on its own. Whether something is ‘damage’ is a matter of fact and degree, depending on the nature of the property and the manner of interference.