UPDATE: There appears to have been more sword releated violence in Victoria.
I hope this does not lead to more laws restricting what I can do with swords when I get back home. I wonder if it effects my ka-gum. A Ka-gum looks like a sword, but it is blunt. Would it be considered a weapon under the law? … probably 🙁
Judges urge sword reform
Elissa Hunt and Ashley Gardiner
LAWS need to be changed and the penalties increased for criminals who arm themselves with deadly weapons, the Court of Appeal has urged.
Chief Justice Marilyn Warren and Justices Stephen Charles and Alex Chernov said in a recent judgment that legal definitions of banned weapons might not cover machetes and samurai swords, and should be amended.
The judges also want harsher punishment for offenders caught carrying or using dangerous items, saying the current “mere” six months’ maximum jail term should be substantially increased.
“In my view Parliament should give urgent consideration to amending the definition of either or both of the expressions ‘prohibited weapon’ and ‘controlled weapon’ to ensure that the legislation prohibits any person from carrying or using weapons such as samurai swords,” Justice Chernov said in the decision on February 16.
“The use of axes and machetes as weapons should also be prohibited although both implements have many quite proper uses.”
The comments came as the court rejected a bid by a sword-wielding gang member for a reduced sentence after a violent brawl between rival groups in the Fitzroy Gardens two years ago.
The 23-year-old offender, Hieu Huu Nguyen, armed himself to lead a gang of up to 70 youths, called SNK, in a clash with the Old Fitzroy group over a girl that members from the opposing gangs both liked.
Nguyen, whose hand was severed in the brawl but later reattached, was jailed for two years with a minimum of nine months for affray and attempting to cause serious injury.
The judges also noted that although being armed with a banned weapon is an offence, a gang member who did so could argue they were acting in self-defence and without criminal intent.
“Counsel appearing before us today were not able to suggest any other legislation which would prevent a recurrence of the events of this nature,” Justice Charles said.
“This community cannot afford to tolerate the use of weapons such as samurai swords and machetes in circumstances akin to those . . . in the Fitzroy Gardens.”
Stella Stuthridge, co-chair of the Law Institute of Victoria’s criminal law section, said current definitions were inconsistent and a single, clear set of rules governing weapon control were needed.