Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Weapon Definition:

An instrument of combat; something to fight with - used or designed to injure or kill.

Related Terms: Weapon of Mass Destruction, Deadly Force

In the 2010 Criminal Code of Canada, a weapon is defined at §2 as:

"Weapon means any thing used, designed to be used or intended for use (a) in causing death or injury to any person, or (b) for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm."

In McMillan, the issue before the court was whether the scuba knife was a concealed weapon. Justice Powell used the opportunity to write that a thing, to be a weapon, has to be "designed for fighting purposes".

But in a decision released in February of 2010, Justice Bridgewater of the Court of Appeals of Washington wisely expanded that definition by adopting these words at ¶12 of State v Hammock:

"A weapon is an instrument of offensive or defensive combat: something to fight with: something (as a club, sword, gun, or grenade) used in destroying, defeating, or physically injuring an enemy.

"(The word) weapon applies to anything used or usable in injuring, destroying, or defeating an enemy or opponent.

"A weapon is also an instrument used or designed to be used to injure or kill someone."

For example, in R v James, Judge Porter of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote:

"Edward Richard James is charged with having assaulted all five fisheries officers with a weapon, to wit, a motor vessel. These offences are alleged to have been committed when he is alleged to have deliberately struck the two FRC with his own motor vessel. Fisheries officer Miller said that Edward Richard James came in, stern on, towards the Harbour Breton FRC and rammed it so hard that the officer had a concern that the rubber pontoon of the FRC might be cut. Fisheries officer Walsh also described Edward Richard James as having rammed the Harbour Breton FRC, and then having rammed into the port side of the Marystown FRC....

"A weapon can be anything put to the purpose of threatening or intimidating a person. Examples of things being found to be a weapon include, but are not limited to: a knife, a dog, a beer bottle and a car."

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