Election poster defaced

Motorists coming into town from the Eastern Districts yesterday were confronted by an election campaign poster sprayed with red paint.

The poster, on the seaside of the main road east of Breakers, was photographed between 6.30 and 7am.

Election officials expressed dismay and suggested that candidates on all sides might wish to speak out against such behaviour.

Crown Counsel Suzanne Look Loy indicated that there does not appear to be a specific section of the Elections Law dealing with such a problem.

However, she pointed out, election posters, billboard, banners and other such materials are the property of some individual or group. Therefore, a charge of damage to property could be brought under the Penal Code. Depending on the circumstances, a charge might be brought under other laws dealing with nuisance.

Damage to or destruction of property is a serious offence, Ms Look Loy explained. It can be dealt with in either the Summary Court or Grand Court. Because the property pertains to general elections, there is the possibility that this aspect could be put forward as an aggravating feature, she agreed.

The penalty for damage or destruction of property, in Grand Court, is a fine up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to 10 years. In Summary Court, the penalty is a fine up to $1,000 and imprisonment up to two years.