Use of toy guns in aggravated robbery: should it attract the maximum sentence?
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ABSTRACT The purpose of the criminal justice system is to deliver an efficient, effective, accountable and fair justice process for the public. The underlying logic of the criminal justice is to contain and repress criminal behaviour. The purpose of the criminal justice system is therefore to deliver justice for all, by convicting and punishing perpetrators and helping them reform, while protecting the innocent. As a consequence of this, the law imposes a very stiff punishment for offenses such as aggravated robbery, especially armed robbery. The aim of this research was to investigate whether a toy gun fits the description of an offensive weapon and firearm as provided in the Penal Code and Firearms Act respectively and whether its use should warrant its inclusion in the ambit of the offense of aggravated robbery with an offensive weapon. This research primarily involved desk research. The research firstly introduced the unsettled legal positions on what is the appropriate offense and punishment for aggravated robbery involving toy guns and further considered in a comparative analysis how robberies involving toy guns have been dealt with in other jurisdictions by both the legislature and the courts, bringing out the difficulties their respective courts have had in deciding with such matters.Furthermore, the cases The People v Joseph Simukoko and Jordan Nkoloma v The People as well as case law from other jurisdictions were analysed thereby illustrating the need to consider treating aggravated robbery involving toy guns differently from aggravated robbery with real firearms. In addition, the statutory provisions in Zambia and other jurisdictions were discussed to determine the way the offense of aggravated robbery involving toy guns is dealt with and the level of sentence imposed for such offenses. The research concluded by highlighting a number of vital recommendations aimed at addressing the foregoing concerns. Notable among the recommendations included amendment to the Zambian legal infrastructure by creating consistency in the definition of an offensive weapon as well as the definition of a firearm. The research also recommended the removal of cross referencing between Penal Code and Firearms Act as well as the need to lessen the sentence of aggravated robbery involving toy guns.
SubjectFirearms ownership- Zambia
Firearms owners- Zambia
Toy guns- Robbery- Zambia
Criminal justice- Zambia
- Law