There are a number of different offences that have similar penalties under the Summary Offences Act.
Summary offences are considered to be relatively minor, and are generally tried in the local court in front of a magistrate, rather than at a higher court before a judge and jury.
Some summary offences have the option of being heard at the local court or at a higher court, while others can only be dealt with in the higher courts.
Summary offences cover a range of criminal offences, from obscene exposure to vandalism.
Having custody of an offensive implement is considered to be a summary offence, and is punishable under the Summary Offences Act.
If you have been charged with the possession of an offensive implement, you face a maximum of two years imprisonment or a fine, if you are found guilty.
What is considered to be an offensive implement?
An offensive implement is an implement that is created or modified to cause harm.
The definition of an offensive implement doesn’t include knives or firearms, but can include anything that is used to either cause harm or injury to a person, to menace or threaten them, or to cause damage to property.
What are the penalties for being found in possession of an offensive implement?
If you are found with an offensive implement in your possession in a public place or a school, you face criminal charges.
It doesn’t matter whether you have used the implement to injure or threaten someone if the prosecution can show that you were intending to use it for that purpose.
A finding of guilt for having an offensive implement in your possession will leave you liable for the same penalties as for other offences that are classified under the Summary Offences Act.
In addition, the offensive implement will be confiscated and you may be required to pay compensation for any damage to property that was caused by your use of the offensive implement.
Other penalties you may face include community service, a good behaviour bond, or a suspended sentence.
What are the defences to a charge of possessing an offensive implement?
If you are found with an offensive implement in your possession in a public place or school, it is up to you to prove to the magistrate that you had a legitimate purpose for carrying it and were not intending to use it to harm or threaten anyone, or to damage property.
If you can prove that you had a reasonable excuse for carrying an offensive implement, you may be able to avoid conviction.
In some cases, your criminal lawyer can ask for a section 10 dismissal or conditional release order and you can avoid a criminal conviction altogether.
A section 10 dismissal or conditional release order is when you are guilty of a criminal offence but no conviction is recorded against you, and your criminal record remains clean.
If you are charged with the possession of an offensive implement, your criminal defence solicitor or barrister can help to advise you as to the best defence, and whether or not you are likely to be successful in applying for a section 10 dismissal or conditional release order.