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"'Lethal weapon'" Topic

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42flanker25 Apr 2022 9:52 a.m. PST

Apologies if this is a little tangential but if anyone has an informed opinion as to what might have constituted a 'lethal weapon' in Scots law, circa 1842 (not firearms), I should be grateful if they would enlighten me.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2022 1:16 p.m. PST

At least from the little I know of Scottish law this would include swords – there is a case that we reviewed from Edinburgh in 1842 involving "lethal weapons" in which four medical students were charged pursuant to a duel with pistols

MacDonald's book on Criminal Law in Scotland (2nd edition, 1877) states that in common usage as per criminal law in Scotland "lethal weapon is vague, as it depends on the hand who uses it whether it is lethal or not" – it then goes on to list as potential lethal weapons firearms (loaded or not), stabbing or cutting instruments (including things like broken bottles) or throwing acids – suggesting that the term "lethal weapon" had a very broad application

42flanker28 Apr 2022 9:59 a.m. PST

@ Frederick, thank you. That has been a great help, Macdonald's 'Criminal Law in Scotland' being unquestionably an impeccable authority. I have found the 1869 edition on line and the whole section on assault is very useful. The terms of the indictment
correspond precisely to the categories outlined in the case reported.

It is interesting that a blunt instrument does not seem to qualify while stabbing or cutting, not unreasonably, does.

Much obliged, JF.

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