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Any interference with the rights of another person. More precisely, it is any voluntary wrongful act against the person of another or to the disturbance of his possession of property against his will. Certain trespasses, e.g. with firearms, or amounting to a breach of the peace, are both actionable in tort and criminal, but in general trespass is actionable in tort only. Trespass is criminal only under particular statutes or where willful and malicious damage is done. There are three kinds of trespass, namely: (i) to the person; (ii) to goods; (iii) to land.
Historically, the distinction between trespass and an action on the case was determined by whether the interference was direct or indirect. The defendant's motive was not usually at issue (see, e.g., Basely v Clarkson (1681)). however, Letang v Cooper (1964) confirms that the modern approach is to distinguish trespass from negligence by taking account of the defendant's motive. As a general matter, trespass is actionable without proof of damage, whereas negligence is not.