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Control or Use of Dangerous Articles

In Victoria, control or use of dangerous articles in a public place carries a maximum penalty of 6 months’ imprisonment or 60 penalty units. If the person is in or in the vicinity of a licenced premises there is a maximum penalty of 1 year imprisonment or 120 penalty units.

A Court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge:

The Offence of Control or Use of Dangerous Articles:

The offence of control or use of dangerous articles is contained in section 7 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990 which states:

  1. A person must not in a public place possess or carry a dangerous article without lawful excuse;
  2. A person who is in licenced premises or in a public place that is in the immediate vicinity of licenced premises must not possess or carry a dangerous article without lawful excuse.

What is a Dangerous Article?

Victoria has a very broad definition of dangerous article. The Control of Weapons Act 1990 states that a dangerous article means:

  • An article which has been adapted or modified so as to be capable of being used as a weapon; or,
  • Any other article which is carried with the intention of being used as a weapon.

What Actions Might Constitute Control or Use of Dangerous Articles?

  • Being in possession of a wooden baseball bat with nails sticking out of it;
  • Carrying a broken beer bottle to the pub;
  • Holding a “rubber glove gun”.

What the Police Must Prove:

To convict you of control or use of dangerous articles, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

You either controlled or used:

  • A dangerous article;
  • In a public place or a licensed premises;
  • Without a lawful excuse.

Possible Defences for  Control Or Use Of Dangerous Articles:

  • Lack of intent/honest and reasonable mistake;
  • The item does not fall within the definition of a dangerous article;
  • Duress;
  • Lawful excuse;
  • Pursuit of lawful employment, duty or activity;
  • Participation in lawful sport, recreation or entertainment;
  • Legitimate collection, display or exhibition of the article;
  • Using the article for the purpose which it is designed or intended.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

This is a summary matter and will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.



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