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Particular Conduct Involving A Weapon In A Public Place Prohibited

What the law says

Sections 57 of the Weapons Act Queensland states:

  1. In this section-
    weapon includes-
    • (a) an antique firearm, spear gun, long bow or sword; and
    • (b) a replica of a weapon; and
    • (c) a replica of a thing mentioned in paragraph (a); and
    • (d) a slingshot or shanghai
  2. A person must not, without reasonable, carry a weapon exposed to public view in a public place
  3. A person must not, without reasonable excuse, carry in a public place a loaded firearm or a weapon capable of being discharged.
  4. A person must not, without reasonable excuse, discharge a weapon in, into, towards, over or through a public place

Principles and Object of Act

  1. The principles underlying this act are as follows-
    • (a) weapon possession and their use are subordinate to the need to ensure public and individual safety;
    • (b) public and individual safety is improved by imposing strict controls on the possession of weapons and requiring the safe and secure storage and carriage of weapons.
  2. The object of this act is to prevent the misuse of weapons.

How object is to be achieved for firearms

The object of this Act is to achieved for firearms by-

  • (a) prohibiting the possession and use of all automatic and self loading rifles and automatic and self loading shotguns except in special circumstances; and
  • (b) establishing an integrated licensing and registration scheme for firearms; and
  • (c) requiring each person who wishes to possess a firearm under a licence to demonstrate a genuine reason for possessing the firearm; and
  • (d) providing strict requirements that must be satisfied for-
    • (i) licences authorising possession of firearms; and
    • (ii) the acquisition and sale of firearms; and
  • (e) ensuring that firearms are stored and carried in a safe and secure way

What the police must prove

In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

Section 57 (2) The accused carried a weapon without lawful excuse in a public place.

Section 57 (3) The accused carried in a public place a loaded firearm or weapon capable of being discharged without lawful excuse.

Section 57 (4) The accused discharged a weapon in, into, towards, over or through a public place without lawful excuse.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.

Maximum penalty

Section 57 (2) The Maximum penalty is 20 penalty units or 3 months imprisonment

Section 57 (3) The Maximum penalty is 60 penalty units or 1 years imprisonment

Section 57 (4) The Maximum penalty is 100 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is can only be dealt with in the Magistrates Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. The accused had a reasonable excuse to have a weapon in a public place
    Section 57 (5) It is a reasonable excuse to carry a sword exposed to view in a public place-
    • (a) to perform a lawful activity, duty or employment; or
    • (b) to participate in a lawful entertainment, recreation or sport; or
    • (c) or exhibiting the knife; or
    • (d) for use for a lawful purpose.
  2. In deciding what is a reasonable excuse for Section 57 (2) or (3), regard may be had, among other things, to whether the way the weapon is carried, or when and where it is carried, would cause a reasonable person concern that he or she, or someone else in the vicinity, may be threatened or harmed.
  3. Identification i.e. not the accused.
  4. The accused did not know a weapon was in his possession.
  5. The accused honestly and reasonably but mistakenly believed the thing was not a weapon.

It is not a reasonable excuse for subsection (2) or (3) to carry a weapon in a public place for self defence purposes

Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Particular Conduct Involving a weapon in a public Place matters)

 

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