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Firing at a Dwelling-House or Other Building During a Public Disorder

Firing at a Dwelling-House or Other Building During a Public Disorder is an offence under section 93GA(1A) of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You fired a firearm
  2. You fired it at a dwelling-house or other building
  3. You did so with reckless disregard for the safety of any person, and
  4. You did so during a public disorder.

It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that a person was actually endangered by your conduct.

A ‘firearm’ is defined as:

A gun, or other weapon, that is or was, capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive, and includes a blank fire firearm, or an air gun, but does not include a paintball marker.

The definition includes an ‘imitation firearm’ which is an object that, regardless of its colour, weight or composition, or the presence or absence of any moveable parts, substantially duplicates a firearm in appearance, but is not a firearm.

The definition does not include an object produced and identified as a children’s toy.

A ‘dwelling-house’ includes:

  1. A building or other structure intended for occupation even if it has never been occupied
  2. A boat or vehicle in which a person resides, and
  3. A building or structure that is ancillary to a dwelling-house which is occupied or whose use is ancillary to the dwelling-house.

A ‘building’ includes a vehicle, vessel, tent or temporary structure

A ‘public disorder’ is a riot or other civil disturbance that gives rise to a serious risk to public safety, whether at a single location or resulting from a series of incidents in the same or different locations.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Self Defence
  2. Duress, and
  3. Necessity.

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