Wednesday, April 17, 2024

NSW doubles down on knife crime

The NSW Government today introduced new legislation to Parliament that will double the maximum penalty available for certain knife crimes.

The Bill will amend the Crimes Act to transfer the offences of having custody of a knife in a public place or school and wielding a knife in a public place or a school, to the Crimes Act.

These offences are currently found in section 11C and 11E respectively of the Summary Offences Act. The new legislation will also see a doubling of the penalties for these offences.

The maximum term of imprisonment for these offences will increase from two years to four years. The maximum fine for possession of a knife will increase from $2200 to $4400, and for wielding a knife to $11,000.

NSW Attorney General, Michael Daley said the tougher maximum penalty will send a strong message about the seriousness of knife-related crime.

“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,” said Mr Daley.

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

“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.”

Key criminal justice diversion mechanisms for young people or first-time minor offenders will be retained under the proposed reforms.

Both offences will be Table 1 offences, meaning they will 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.

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.

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