Control of Use of Dangerous Articles
– section 7 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990
When a person is in a public place and has something on them that could be used as a weapon.
Examples of Control of Use of Dangerous Articles
- A man leaves a bar with a glass beer bottle, smashes the bottle and continues to carry it
- A boy is carrying a machete at school
- A woman is walking in the city and is carrying a kitchen knife
What are some of the possible defences to a Control of Use of Dangerous Articles charge?
- Self-defence (i.e. the man leaving the bar was confronted by a group of men who intended to assault him and he smashed the bottle to defend himself)
- The legitimate display or exhibition of the article (i.e. the boy brought the machete to school for an exhibition about cultural heritage)
- Carrying the article was necessary for your job or used for the purpose it was intended (i.e. the woman walking in the city is a Chef who picked up a kitchen knife from another restaurant because she had run out of knives)
- Participation in any lawful sport
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.
Questions that are asked in cases like this:
- Do you have a lawful excuse for carrying the dangerous article?
- Did you have the dangerous article in your possession?
Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge
The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of 120 penalty units or imprisonment for a year.
As this is a summary offence this will be heard by the Magistrates’ Court.
“Is it a dangerous article?”
What is the legal definition of Control of Use of Dangerous Articles?
A person is in a public place or a licensed premises and possesses an article capable of being used as a weapon without a lawful excuse.
The section that covers this offence is section 7 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990.1
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
This is a potentially serious charge and can lead imprisonment if you are found guilty. However, it will generally be punishable by a fine.
 Control of Weapons Act 1990 – Section 7
(1) A person must not in a public place possess or carry a dangerous article without lawful excuse.
Penalty: 60 penalty units or imprisonment for 6 months.
(1A) A person who is in licensed premises or in a public place that is in the immediate vicinity of licensed premises must not possess or carry a dangerous article without lawful excuse.
Penalty: 120 penalty units or imprisonment for 1 year.
(1B) If a person is convicted or found guilty of an offence against subsection (1A) in respect of an act or omission that person is not liable to be convicted or found guilty of an offence against subsection (1) in respect of the same act or omission.
(2) In this section “lawful excuse” includes—
(a) the pursuit of any lawful employment, duty or activity; and
(b) participation in any lawful sport, recreation or entertainment; and
(c) the legitimate collection, display or exhibition of the article; and
(d) the use of the article for the purpose for which it is designed or intended—
but does not include possession or carriage of a dangerous article for the purpose of self-defence.
(4) In considering whether a person has a lawful excuse to possess or carry a dangerous article, the court must have regard to the circumstances, such as time and location, of the incident.