When people think about weapons and criminal offences, it is common for them to think of handguns, rifles, shotguns, and knives. While it is true that these are all weapons, there are numerous other items and objects which could be construed as weapons, depending upon the manner and context which they are used.
The Criminal Code of Canada defines “weapons” as essentially any type of object, which can be used to be used to maim, wound, injure, or kill another person, or could be used to threaten to maim, wound, injure, or kill another person. This includes objects and items most people would not necessarily consider a weapon, but could potentially be used as one. In other words, the definition of the term “weapon” in the Criminal Code of Canada is broad and can apply to a number of different items.
The Criminal Code of Canada does however define restricted, prohibited, non-restricted, and imitation firearms/weapons. These definitions are further used in conjunction with specific weapons offences. For example, trafficking of a firearm, possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm with the intent to traffic.
Examples of Items that People Do Not Consider Weapons
Consider the case where two people are arguing and one person picks up a drinking glass, throws it at the other person and it breaks, cutting the person. The drinking glass has now become a weapon. The person who threw the drinking glass will likely be charged with “Assault with a Weapon”
In another example, consider an article of clothing, like a t-shirt or pair of jeans. Many people would not think their clothing could be used as a weapon. However, if someone were to use a t-shirt or a pair of jeans in an attempt to strangle another person, the article of clothing has now become a weapon.
Even a simple object, like a toothbrush could become a weapon if it was used to wound, maim, or harm another person, or used in a threatening manner towards another person.
How Does the Law Decide when an Object Becomes a Weapon?
In order to determine when a simple object becomes a weapon, the manner and context in which it is used is crucial, as described in the examples noted above. A great deal of emphasis is also placed on the complainant’s perception on how they believed the item was being used.
The Criminal Code of Canada includes specific provisions that deal with imitation weapons. For example, if a “toy gun” is used in the commission of a bank robbery, the victim is likely to believe the “toy gun” to be real. In other words, even though the accused may have only used a “toy gun” in the commission of a robbery, as long as the victim believed the weapon was real or believed that the weapon had the capability of inflicting harm upon them, the offence will be treated as seriously as if the accused party used a real weapon.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a weapons related criminal offence, it is in your best interests to speak directly to a Mississauga criminal defence lawyer. Contact Passi & Patel DUI & criminal defence law firm in Mississauga now by calling 647-898-8018 to schedule a free consultation. We are happy to schedule an in-person meeting to discuss your matter in greater detail.