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Discharge Missile to Endanger Person or Property

A summary offence is a criminal offence but one of a less serious nature than an indictable offence.

Discharging a missile translates to throwing an object at someone or something and by that action placing a person in danger, injuring them or damaging property.

Whether you should plead not guilty or plead guilty depends on an assessment of the circumstances surrounding the charge.
As a summary offence, any summons for this charge will primarily be handled by the Magistrates’ Court.
What is the legal definition of Discharge Missile to Endanger Person or Property?
Any person who throws or discharges a stone arrow or other missile to the injury of or danger to any person or damage to any property shall be guilty of an offence.

Penalty: 25 penalty units or imprisonment for six months or both.

Examples of Discharge Missile to Endanger Person or Property
  • An argument occurs at a sporting match between the supporters of opposition clubs. This results in a fight where objects are thrown from one group to the other.
  • You are with a group of friends and throw an object which hits a vehicle. There are people nearby and the vehicle is damaged.
This offence is governed by section 7(g) of the Summary Offences Act 1966.

Elements of the offence
The prosecution must prove:

  • That the accused threw or discharged a stone arrow or other missile; and
  • As a result of this action, caused the injury of, or danger to any person or damage to any property.

Criminal defences that are used in response to this charge are normally around factual dispute and whether the Prosecution can prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Questions in cases like this
  • I was just part of the group, can I still be charged with this?
  • How was someone placed in danger?
  • What evidence shows that I was involved in this incident?

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The offence of Discharge Missile to Endanger Person or Property (s7(g) of the Summary Offences Act 1966) carries a fine of 25 penalty units (currently $4,029.75), six months imprisonment or both in more significant cases.

Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts
From 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016, the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria heard a total of 755 cases (802 charges) involving the charge of Discharge Missile to Endanger Person or Property. These cases resulted in a variety of sentencing options:

  • Fine – 28.6%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 24.6%
  • Community Correction Order – 24.4%
  • Imprisonment – 17.2%
  • Wholly Suspended Sentence – 4.0%
  • Youth Justice Centre Order – 0.7%
  • Partially Suspended Sentence – 0.5%
Majority of those who received financial penalties were fined somewhere above $500 but less than $1,000 (32.4% aggregate and 7.0% non-aggregate). The highest amount imposed was $3,000 < $4,000 but this was given to only 4.1% (aggregate) of those who were fined.

Of those who received a prison term, majority were sentenced to < 3 months (40.8%). The longest term imposed was 36+ months but this was given to only 0.8% of those who were sentenced to imprisonment.1

Please note that suspended sentences were abolished in Victoria for all offences committed on or after 1 September 2014.2

[1] SAC Statistics – Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) : s 7(g) – discharge or throw missile to endanger person/property
[2] Suspended Sentence | The Sentencing Advisory Council