Trespassing with a speargun or other firearm is an offence under Section 93H(1) of the Crimes Act.
In order to be found guilty of this offence, there are a number of factors that need to be in place.
This offence can be dealt with either as a summary offence in the local court, or if the prosecution elects, it can be heard in the district court.
What weapons are included in this offence?
Unlawfully entering a building or land with either a firearm or speargun in Sydney is considered a criminal offence.
It is also an offence if you are caught trespassing with an imitation firearm or imitation speargun.
What will the judge consider when deciding whether to find me guilty?
In order for you to be convicted for trespassing with a speargun or other firearm, you need to have entered someone’s property or land unlawfully.
This means that you didn’t have the permission of the owner or occupier of the building or land to be there, you didn’t have a reasonable excuse to enter the property with the firearm, and that you weren’t doing it under a lawful purpose.
If you can provide evidence to prove that any of the above factors were not present, there is a good chance you will not be found guilty of trespassing with a speargun.
It is up to you as the defendant to provide the evidence to prove that you entered the land or building in question lawfully rather than unlawfully.
Reasonable excuses include self-defence, and lawful purpose includes hunting or pest control where the person has an appropriate firearms licence.
What if I didn’t fire the speargun?
Even if you didn’t use or plan to use the firearm or speargun, you can still be found guilty of an offence if you unlawfully entered a building or land carrying it.
There are additional penalties for firing a speargun or firearm on land or in a building unlawfully.
What are the penalties for this offence?
If you are found guilty of trespassing with a speargun in Sydney, you face a number of different penalties, depending on the exact circumstances of the offence and any previous criminal convictions you might have.
When dealt with in the local court, the maximum penalty for trespassing with a firearm is two years in prison.
If you or the prosecution elects to have the matter dealt with in the district court, you could end up facing a harsher five-year prison sentence.
If the prosecution can prove that you fired the speargun in a building or on land unlawfully, this could increase to a potential 10-year jail sentence.
Other penalties you might face include fines of up to $5,500, community service, a good behaviour bond or a suspended sentence.
If you are facing a charge of trespassing with a speargun or other firearm it is a good idea to seek legal advice.
An experienced criminal lawyer may be able to help you defend yourself successfully against your charges, or work to have them reduced to a less severe charge.