When may a weapons prohibition order be made?
Under section 21H of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) the Commissioner of Police may issue a weapons prohibition order against a person if satisfied:
- the person has been found guilty of, or declared liable to supervision for an offence of violence; and
- possession of a prohibited weapon by the person would be likely to result in undue danger to life or property; and
- it is in the public interest to prohibit the person from possessing or using a prohibited weapon.
When does the order come into force against the person?
The order comes into force when it is personally served upon the person [s 21H(2)]. To facilitate the preparation and service of an order, a police officer may require the person to remain in a particular place and if a person refuses or fails to comply with that requirement, the police officer may then detain the person for as long as necessary or two hours, whichever is less [s 21H(3)].
What does the order provide?
A person subject to a weapons prohibition order:
- is disqualified from holding or obtaining an exemption under s 21F [ss 21I(1) and (2)];
- must not use, posess, manufacture, distribute or supply a prohibited weapon (maximum penalty $35 000 fine or imprisonment for 4 years) [s 21I(3)];
- must not be present at a place where a person carries on business involving prohibited weapons or in the company of another person who has control of a prohibited weapon (maximum penalty $10 000 or imprisonment for 2 years) [s 21I(4)];
- must notify the Commissioner of Police of the presence of a prohibited weapon at a place where they reside and comply with any direction in reponse, including that they must not then reside at those premises (maximum penalty $10 000 or imprisonment for two years) [s 21I(7)].
What weapons are prohibited?
Prohibited weapons include several types of knives, concealed and ceremonial weapons, laser pointers, cross bows, claws knuckle susters, nunchakus and some other weapons. The full list of the prohibited weapons and their description is contained in reg 6 of the Summary Offences Regulations 2016 (SA).
Can a person subject to an order appeal against it?
Yes. A person aggrieved by a decision of the Commissioner of Police to issue, vary or revoke a weapons prohibition order may appeal to the District Court of South Australia within 28 days of receiving notice of the relevant decision [s 21J].
How is the order enforced?
For the purposes of ensuring compliance with a weapons prohibition order, under section 21L, a police officer may:
- detain and search a person subject to an order for prohibited weapons;
- stop, detain and search a vehicle, vessel or aircraft (reasonably suspected of being in the person's charge) for prohibited weapons;
- enter and search premises (reasonably suspected of being occupied by the person or in the person's care and control) for prohibited weapons.
Most of the relevant offences and penalties are set out above under 'What does the order provide?'
In addition, a person who supplies a prohibited weapon to a person subject to a weapons prohibition order is also guilty of an offence, punishable by a fine of up to $35 000 or imprisonment for 4 years [s 21I(8)]. It is a defence if the person did not know or could not reasonably be expected to have known that the person was subject to the weapons prohibition order [s 21I(9)].
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