Using of Firearms in the Commission of Offences

– section 31A of the Crimes Act 1958
Man Pointing Gun at SomeoneIf a person is found guilty of an indictable offence and it is further proven that they used a firearm during the commission of that offence, then that person will be liable to a further offence.

The sentence for this additional charge cannot be served concurrently with any other sentence and cannot be suspended in part or in full.

Examples of Using of Firearms in the Commission of Offences
  • A person uses a gun to intimidate a rival shop owner by shooting bullets at their front window.
  • A person accused of dealing illicit drugs is found to be in possession of a hand gun.
  • An assault is captured on CCTV footage and a person can be seen to use a hand gun to threaten and assault a victim.
Questions in cases like this
  • In what way was the firearm used?
  • What it a firearm?
What are some of the possible defences to Using of Firearms in the Commission of Offences?

Defences that are often used against this charge are factual disputes, wrongful identification, lack of intent, or mental impairment.

Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

County Court
If proven guilty, the court may imposed a maximum penalty of level 6 imprisonment (5 years). This sort of charge is heard in the County Court.

What is the legal definition of Using of Firearms in the Commission of Offences?

Use of firearms in the commission of offences

  1. A person who is found guilty of an indictable offence and who carried—
    1. a firearm (within the meaning of the Firearms Act 1996); or
    2. an imitation firearm (within the meaning of section 29(3)(b))—

    when committing the offence is guilty of a further offence and is liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).

  2. Despite anything to the contrary in the Sentencing Act 1991 or in any other law, a court, in imposing a penalty under subsection (1)—
    1. must direct that the sentence not be served concurrently with any other sentence; and
    2. must not make an order suspending the whole or any part of the sentence.
Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 31A of Crimes Act 1958.

Elements of the offence

In essence, to prove this charge in Court, the Prosecution must show that the accused was found guilty of an indictable offence and was carrying a firearm, or an imitation firearm, at the time when the offence was committed.

Media

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