Police have charged a 10-year-old boy in Perth after he allegedly tried to hold-up and rob a delivery driver as he sat in his truck in the suburb of Midland.
The child approached the 28-year-old male just after he had made a delivery on the driver's side of the vehicle. The kid was wearing dark colored clothing with a hood concealing his head. A handgun was brandished and several threats were made to the driver. The trigger was then pulled and the gun discharged, revealing it to be a cap gun.
The child was apprehended shortly after by police with the cap gun and charged with attempted armed robbery.
The boy appeared before the Perth Children's Court on Thursday and further details emerged of 13 other charges—including criminal damage and common assault—that he is to face. Although prosecutors opposed bail, he was released on supervised bail. His mother was present at the hearing with her three other sons.
VICE managed to chat with a co-worker of the delivery driver, who was present moments after the attempted robbery. "He was really shaken up by the incident," she said. "Initially he thought it was a robbery and was really stirred-up."
Under the bail terms the boy is required to appear in the Midland Magistrates Court on the other charges.
"This isn't the first time an incident like this has happened; kids hangout and pretend to hold-up drivers," the co-worker remarked.
Gun laws in Australia are regulated by the National Firearms Agreement (1996). This national arrangement emerged under the Howard government, after the Port Arthur Massacre, in which 35 people were slain by Martin Bryant. State laws also play a part in controlling the ownership, possession, and use of firearms. In Western Australia it is the Firearms Act 1973.
Legislation for toy guns varies from state to state but generally, items that resemble firearms—but cannot reasonably be mistaken as functioning firearms by the general public and do not have the functionality of working firearms—can be lawfully possessed by anyone.
It was reported however that the boy had removed the orange cap from the end of the silver cap gun before approaching the truck driver, making it a device that could be (and was) mistaken for an actual firearm. In Australian law, while an imitation firearm cannot function like a working firearm, it can cause public terror. It didn't help that he then allegedly said to the man "Get out, this is a robbery" and "You are about to get robbed."
Just last month in Sydney's Martin Place, a young boy was photographed wielding a realistic AK-47 toy gun, sparking debate for new legislation on gun-shaped objects that aren't guns. In December 2014, two hostages and a gunman were killed in the Lindt café siege in the same location, Martin Place.
Speaking after the incident Police Association of NSW president, Scott Weber, said to the Daily Telegraph"In this heightened terrorism environment, if someone sees what looks to be a real firearm, regardless of the age of the person carrying it, they're going to have genuine concerns."
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