26 September 2023

Knives in schools cut into Crimes Act

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The Attorney-General has announced that the Crimes Act is to be increased to make it an offence to have a knife in a public place or school or to wield a knife in a public place or a school.

The Attorney-General, Michael Daley, said the offences were currently in the Summary Offences Act but would now be in the Crimes Act.

He said the new legislation would see the penalties for the offences doubled so a maximum term of imprisonment would increase from two years to four years and the maximum fine for possessing a knife go from $2,200 to $4,400, and for wielding, $11,000.

“The tougher maximum penalty will send a strong message about the gravity of knife-related crime,” Mr Daley said.

“The Government is acting to address understandable community concern given the high-profile tragic events involving knives that we have seen in NSW over the last couple of years,” he said.

“We want to ensure that people in the community are safe and feel safe.”

He said both crimes would be Table 1 offences, meaning they would be tried summarily unless the prosecution or defendant elects otherwise.

“A penalty infringement notice can still be issued to an adult for a first offence for knife possession, which means the person would not need to attend court,” Mr Daley said.

“The Young Offenders Act 1997 will continue to apply when the offences are moved to the Crimes Act. This means children and young persons will still be eligible to receive a caution or referral to youth justice conferencing where appropriate,” he said.

“We believe we have struck the right balance with these reforms, sending an important message to people engaging in criminal behaviour of this kind but also not being overly punitive in its application.”

Mr Daley said the key criminal justice diversion mechanisms for young people or first-time minor offenders would be retained.

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