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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 273 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The bottom line, Attorney, is that you are introducing into the Crimes Act a definition of offensive weapon that is inestimably broader than the definition of offensive weapon contained in the New South Wales Crimes Act, and you do not need to do it. There is no need for this definition in the ACT Crimes Act. It is simply not necessary for you to move this far. You do not have to do it.

There has been no call by anybody for this particular provision. I am sure the police did not call for this provision. I am sure the DPP did not call for this provision. I am sure the courts did not call for this provision. You are imposing a definition that was uncalled for, that is unexplained and that is unnecessary.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.51): I think there is a fair bit of ignorance running around here. Under division 2 of the Crimes Act, "Theft and related offences", there is an offence of theft in section 92, an offence of minor theft in section 92A, an offence of robbery in section 100, an offence of armed robbery in section 101 and an offence of burglary in section 102.

In criminal law there are elements which need to be proved to make up an offence. In the offence of armed robbery the elements include someone having a firearm, an imitation firearm, an offensive weapon, an explosive or an imitation explosive. The other element of that offence is that it has to be a robbery-in other words, taking money or valuable possessions from someone or, if it is an attempted robbery, at least attempting to do so. Similarly, robbery includes anyone who steals. Ms Tucker has taken that out. Somebody who grabs a handbag, for example, could be charged with robbery. Those offences are separate offences, and in any offence there are certain elements which a prosecution has to prove to make up the offence. So you cannot say there are two offences. They are individual offences. That is why they have individual sections.

Mr Stanhope: Yes, we agree with that.

MR STEFANIAK: I am glad you do now. I was not too sure before that you did. I am little bit amazed, and I do not think Mr Stanhope helps his argument by saying the definition is fine for the offence of stalking because that is in a class of its own, yet we need a different definition, which he now seeks to put in, for any other description of offensive weapon. That makes a nonsense of his claims.

The current definitions in the Crimes Act which this bill seeks to clear up, number three. Ms Tucker, I provided you with these and you read them out. One definition is:

"offensive weapon" means an article made or adapted for use for the purpose of causing injury to or incapacitating a person or which any person having it with him or her intends to use for that purpose;

That is used in section 101, "Armed robbery", also section 103, "Aggravated burglary". There is another definition of offensive weapon in section 493, "Possession of offensive weapons":

"offensive weapon" means any thing made or adapted for use for causing bodily injury, or intended for that use by the person who has it in his or her possession.

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