It is an offence for a person who, without lawful excuse, carries an offensive weapon or an article of disguise or has possession of a housebreaking implement.
Maximum penalty: $2 500 or 6 months imprisonment
[Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 21C(1)]
Some items such as knuckle-dusters, which have no innocent purpose, are naturally regarded as offensive, but just about anything can be an offensive weapon. A bottle, a stick, a closed pocket knife or even a baseball bat might be an offensive weapon if the person carrying it wants to use it as such or cannot establish an innocent reason for having it [see Verdiglione v Police SASC 349].
Carrying an offensive weapon for self-defence is not a lawful excuse. Similarly, many things can be classed as housebreaking implements. For example, a common household screwdriver could be a housebreaking implement, depending on the intention of the person who has it.
Other offences set out under section 21C of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA), which carry more serious penalties, are:
- Without lawful excuse: manufacturing, selling, distributing, supplying, or otherwise dealing in, dangerous articles; or having possession of, or using, a dangerous article.Maximum penalty: $7 500 or 18 months imprisonment [s 21C(2)].
- carrying an offensive weapon or dangerous article at night while in or attempting to enter or leave a licensed premises; or a car parking area for the use of patrons of the licensed premises.Maximum penalty: $10 000 or 2 years imprisonment [s 21C(3)].
Dangerous articles include anti-theft cases, blow guns, dart projectors, gas injector devices, plain catapults, self-protecting sprays and self-protection devices. The list and description of objects which are defined as dangerous articles is contained in reg 5 of the Summary Offences Regulations 2016 (SA).
- using or visibly carrying an offensive weapon in the presence of any person in a school or public place in a manner that would be likely to cause a person to fear for their personal safety.Maximum penalty: $10 000 or 2 years imprisonment [s 21C(7)].
Other similar offences
It is an offence to carry a knife in a school or public place.
Maximum penalty: $2 500 or 6 months imprisonment [see s 21E].
It is an offence for a person, who is armed at night with a dangerous or offensive weapon, intending to use the weapon, to commit an offence against the person.
Maximum penalty: 7 years imprisonment or 10 years if previously convicted of an offence against the person or an offence under this section [Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) s 270D].
A person who is, in suspicious circumstances, in possession of an article intending to use it to commit certain specified offences is also guilty of an offence. The maximum penalty depends on the maximum penalty for the intended offence [see Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) s 270C].
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