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  • Brandon Staltari

Carrying a weapon?

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

Have you ever been going about your day, minding your own business and then had to go through a bag check and wondered if the contents of your bag could get you in trouble?

What exactly is a weapon? Could that pocket knife you got for your 16th birthday that you always forget is there get you in trouble?

Almost anything can be a weapon if it is carried or possessed with the relevant intent.

Section 8 of the Weapons Act 1999, holds that it is an offence to carry an item that is not a controlled or prohibited weapon, but could be used as a weapon (such as a baseball bat or wrench), if the person has an intention to use it as a weapon, or threatens to use it as a weapon. Whilst the section does provide a list, it is important to know this isn’t exhaustive. The biggest concern is what you intend to do with the object.

Whether or not an item can be said to be a weapon, depends on the way in which it is being held or used. There needs to be enough evidence to give reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person has the relevant intention to use the item as a weapon. Circumstances which may be taken into account to determine intention include the object itself, the location in which it is being carried, how it is being carried, the time of day, and whether there is a credible explanation.

A good example of the matter of ‘circumstance’ is that of Guant v Hooft [2009] WASC 36. A tow truck driver approached another driver with a spanner in his hand. He argued he had it because he did not want the other driver to leave, he had no intention of using it as a weapon. Even though he was yelling as he approached the other driver, it was decided that he did not have the relevant intent for the spanner to be considered a weapon and that under the circumstances it was reasonable for him to have a spanner without the intention of it being a weapon.

If you have been charged with a Weapons offence or had property seized by police under suspicion of a weapons offence, get in contact with one of our criminal lawyers to discuss your matter and your rights and obligations.

Please note that the above is general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All situations are different and legal advice must always be tailored to the specific situation.

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