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The Streeton’s Guide to Gift-giving: Presents to Avoid These Holidays

With just over a week until Christmas, many of us are frantically trying to find gifts for our loved ones. While Streeton Lawyers can’t help to make this process...

Zoe Whetham

With just over a week until Christmas, many of us are frantically trying to find gifts for our loved ones. While Streeton Lawyers can’t help to make this process any easier, we can provide a list of presents you should avoid gifting this Christmas.


In NSW, a slingshot fits the definition of a prohibited weapon, and is therefore illegal to use or possess.

A slingshot is defined by the legislation as “a device consisting of an elasticised band secured to the forks of a “Y” shaped frame”. However, the definition does not include a home-made slingshot for use by a child in the course of play.

In other words, if your child makes a slingshot out of sticks from the backyard, they won’t be committing an offence. But if you purchase a slingshot, or gift a home-made one to someone other than a child, you could be charged with possessing a prohibited weapon and face a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

Laser pointer

Similarly, it is illegal to possess a laser pointer in NSW, if the laser pointer consists of a hand-held battery-operated device with a power output of more than 1 milliwatt, and it is designed or adapted to emit a laser beam and which may be used for the purposes of aiming, targeting or pointing.

Again, the maximum penalty for possessing this item is 14 years imprisonment.


Carrying a pocketknife in a public place, without a reasonable excuse, carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a $2,200 fine. If you gift the pocketknife to your children, you could also be fined $550 for permitting your child to carry a knife.

A reasonable excuse for possessing a knife in a public place can include:

  • if the knife is necessary for the person’s occupation,
  • if it is used in the preparation or consumption of food or drink, or
  • if the knife is being used in an organised exhibition by knife collectors.

If your considering gifting a pocketknife, or any other kind of knife, it would be best to rethink this option if the receiver of the gift does not have a legitimate use for it.

Electric scooters

Although possessing an electric scooter is not an offence, riding one on a road or “road related area” (e.g. footpaths and cycle paths) is against the law.

Gifting an electric scooter is therefore fine, as long as the scooter is only going to be used on private property. If not, the rider may be issued a fine, charged with an offence, or even have their scooter seized by police.


Similarly, drones themselves are not illegal, but improper use could result in criminal charges and even imprisonment.

For example, if the drone is flown in an area where the person flying it cannot continuously see the device, they could face a $5,250 fine. If the drone is flown within 30 metres of people who are not directly associated with the operation of the drone, the person faces a $10,500 fine. If the flying of the drone interferes with an aircraft, a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment applies.

Streeton Lawyers wishes you all the best with your Christmas shopping, and a safe and happy holiday!