Liability of Frank for criminal damage and aggravated criminal damage
As for the second element of the mens rea it is worth pointing out that there does not need to be an actual risk to life. It is sufficient that an ordinary, prudent bystander believes that life is endangered by the property damage. Also, any alleged danger to life must come from the destruction or damage itself, rather than from the method used to cause the destruction or damage. So, in the case of aggravated criminal damage there was obviously no danger to life caused by the damage to the tutor's notes. In other words, the only way Frank could be guilty of aggravated criminal damage was if he intended to endanger life by destroying his tutor's notes.
Therefore, Frank is not guilty of aggravated criminal damage. Is Frank guilty of aggravated arson? It might be possible to argue that Frank is guilty of aggravated arson by claiming that the damage to his tutor's notes caused damage to the books and other materials on the tutor's desk (since if the notes were not damaged by the initial fire then the books and any other property would not have been damaged either) through a chain reaction. This chain reaction of damage endangered life by causing the fire to spread. Although Frank may not have intended to endanger life the fact that he chose to set fire to the notes, and the fact that fires can spread easily in paper-clad offices, may mean that he is deemed reckless as to life being endangered.
In case it can be established that Frank's behaviour met the requirements of aggravated arson, it is again necessary to consider any potential defences. Defences (i) Intoxication Frank may use the same argument outlined above to claim that his intoxication was involuntary and it negated any mens rea for aggravated arson. (ii) Lawful excuse The lawful excuse defence is only available for simple criminal damage and simple arson, not for the aggravated offences. Conclusion On the whole, it appears that Frank is guilty of simple criminal damage and simple arson.
He is not guilty of aggravated criminal damage and his liability for aggravated arson is arguable.
Bibliography Legislation Consulted • Criminal Damage Act 1971 Cases Consulted • Hardie  1 WLR 64
• Allen, M.J. - Textbook on Criminal Law (6th Edition), Oxford University Press (2001), pp.489-503
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