Causing Danger with Firearm or Spear Gun - Charges, Penalties and Sentencing in NSW

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Causing Danger with Firearm or Spear Gun


In NSW, causing danger with a firearm or spear gun is an offence that carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge:

The Offence of Causing Danger with Firearm or Spear Gun:

The offence of ‘causing danger with a firearm or spear gun’ is contained in section 93G of the Crimes Act 1900, which states:

Any person who:

  • Possesses a loaded firearm or loaded spear gun:
    • In a public place, or
    • In any other place so as to endanger the life of any other person; or
  • Fires a firearm or spear gun in or near a public place, or
  • Carries or fires a firearm or spear gun in a manner likely to injure or endanger the safety of, himself or herself or any other person or any property, or with disregard for the safety of himself or herself or any other person,

is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

What Actions Might Constitute Causing Danger with Firearm or Spear Gun?

  • The definition of a firearm is broadly worded and encompasses a wide range of objects. Under the Firearms Act 1996 a firearm is defined as: a gun, or other weapon, that is (or at any time was) capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive, unless specifically declared by a regulation to not be a firearm.
  • Section 93G(2)(a) states that a firearm is taken to be loaded if the ammunition is:
    • In the chamber or barrel; or
    • In any magazine or other device which is in such a position that the ammunition can be fitted into its chamber or barrel by operation of some other part of the firearm.
  • Section 93G(2)(b) states that a spear gun is taken to be loaded if a spear or an instrument or thing similar to a spear is fitted to it.

What the Police Must Prove:

To convict you of causing danger with a firearm or spear gun, the Prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:-

  • That you either:
    • Possessed a loaded firearm or loaded spear gun in a public place; or
    • Possessed a loaded firearm or loaded spear gun in any other place so as to endanger the life of any other person; or
  • That you fired a firearm or spear gun in or near a public place; or
  • That you carried or fired a firearm or spear gun in a manner likely to injure any person (including yourself) or in a manner likely to endanger the safety of any person or any property or with disregard for the safety of any person (including yourself).

Defences to Causing Danger with Firearm or Spear Gun:

It is a defence under section 93G of the Crimes Act 1900 if you are able to satisfy the court that you have a reasonable excuse for possessing the item, doing the action or that you possessed the item or performed the action for a lawful purpose.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

This offence is a Table 2 offence. This means that the matter will likely be dealt with in the Local Court. However, the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If they do so, this will give rise to harsher penalties.

Types of Penalties:

Jail: This is the most serious penalty and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 as a standalone order but may be imposed as a condition of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.

Intensive Corrections Order (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Suspended Sentence: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018. This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Community Service Order (CSO): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Good Behaviour Bond: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Community Corrections Orders (CCO): A CCO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Community Corrections Orders (CCO). Additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the court, both at the time of sentence and subsequently upon application by a community corrections officer, juvenile justice officer or the offender. Read more.

Fines: When deciding the amount of a fine the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10A: A section 10A is a conviction, with no other penalty attached to it. Read more.

Conditional Release Order (CRO): A CRO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the CRO. Read more.

Section 10 avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.

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