Following on from a something I tweeted earlier this week I thought I’d write my own piece of case law.
Criminal damage to a snowman does not constitute a criminal offence.
Definition of criminal damage: S1 Criminal Damage Act 1971. A person who without lawful excuse damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be damaged or destroyed shall be guilty of an offence. Property is “of a tangible nature, whether real or personal”
Snow is a naturally occurring substance that falls to settle indiscriminately on the ground with very little warning. It is not a permanent substance and exists solely based on the prevailing weather conditions and environment. An individual has no control over its arrival or departure. It has no intrinsic monetary value and unlike other forms of water (liquid or ice) that can be bought as a utility or commodity, naturally occurring snow is not marketable, nor is a snowman that is built for recreational purposes.
An individual cannot claim to own a quantity of naturally occurring snow. The same applies to any snowman made from the the same. There can be no argument for ownership based on time and effort expended to build such a structure, as the snowman will always be temporary and cannot be given a value. Any damage or alteration to a snowman by another party will not cause the builder to incur any loss for repair or replacement. Emotional attachment or sentimentality cannot be taken into consideration as the snowman is destined to disintegrate within a short space of time with a fluctuation in temperature and weather conditions.
- A snowman made from artificial snow may constitute property as there has been a level of expenditure involved in the manufacturing process of the snow, and the snowman made therewith.
- A snowman commissioned and constructed by a professional snowman sculptor may, for the purposes of the definition, be considered property as a service has been provided, therefore bestowing value on the snowman.
- Any objects used to adorn a snowman (scarf, hat, carrot, pieces of coal) can be damaged as they are owned by the snowman builder and have permanence and value.
[This is neither a comprehensive nor official piece of legislation. Please read it in the humorous spirit in which it was written]