Travelling to the World Cup? What to be aware of when travelling overseas

Travelling to the World Cup? What to be aware of when travelling overseas

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Heading off to the Rugby World Cup this year? Travelling to a relaxing beach escape? Lucky you! 

Even if you’ve travelled before, there are lots of things to keep in mind when you are travelling overseas. Just like those airline safety videos – even if you’ve seen it once, it's always good to have a reminder! Here’s some pointers …

Landside, airside, screening points, what does it all mean?

The landside area is essentially the area of the airport before immigration control. Everything beyond that is the airside zone. And the screening point? That’s where your carry on luggage and yourself go through the metal scanners and x-ray. 

Screening process through the airport - what not to pack in your hand luggage

All passengers departing Australian international airports are required to go through a security screening process. It involves metal detectors, x-rays of bags and other hand luggage. Security officers can also ask you to go through a body scanner. Selection is random but if you refuse to go through (with the exception of for medical reasons) you will not be allowed to continue through the screening point and carry on with your travel plans. 

There is a long, long list of things that you can’t take onto an aeroplane. Obvious weapons aside, don’t forget to pack your nail scissors in your checked luggage! For a full list of prohibited items, click here.

Where the screening point starts and ends is an interesting question. It is an offence to take a weapon through a screening point. Screening point is defined in legislation (the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004, to be precise) to be “a place where screening occurs”. That’s a pretty non-descriptive definition. In order to commit an offence the person needs to have “passed through” the screening point.  Reasonable minds may differ on what constitutes “passed through”. Arguably it could mean a person needs to have completely finished the screening process, or it could mean, your bag has gone through the screening point. 

There are two categories of offences for passing through a screening point with a weapon. One is a strict liability offence for which the maximum penalty is a fine of 100 penalty units (currently $21,000). The other is a more serious offence with a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.

Explosives swab test

So what are your rights at the screening point? If you’re selected for an explosives swab test of your hand luggage, the screening officer is required to provide you with an information sheet prior to touching your bags. You have the right to refuse any part of the screening process, but be aware, that if you do, you will be prevented from passing through the screening point and won’t be able to board your flight. 

And don’t – please don’t – make jokes about bombs or guns or anything like that. Airport security and airport police take these things very seriously and chances are high that you will be prevented from boarding your flight.

Jurisdiction - I’m in the air, but am I?

The Tokyo Convention (otherwise known as the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Act Committed on Board Aircraft) is an international convention largely concerning criminal acts carried out on board aircraft. In Australia, it is enacted into law by the Crimes (Aviation) Act 1991. It is a Commonwealth Act, meaning any offences charged under it, are usually prosecuted by the Commonwealth DPP.

One of the purposes of the Act is to provide for criminal offences that occur on board aircraft while the aeroplane is in flight. The legislation deals with hijacking and other acts of violence specifically but it also provides for any other offence that occurs on board the aircraft.

There are certain conditions that must be ticked off before the offence provisions related to these other offences can be utilised. 

Firstly, it needs to concern a person who is on board a “Division 2 aircraft”. What is a Division 2 aircraft? This is defined in the legislation to be any aircraft (whether it’s an Australian aircraft or a foreign aircraft) that is, either:

  • On a flight in the course of trade and commerce with other countries or between Australian states; or

  • On a flight within an Australian territory, between two territories or between a State and a territory; or

  • Outside Australia but which started in Australia; or

  • On a flight between part of Australia and a place outside Australia; or

  • An Australian aircraft that is on a flight wholly outside Australia; or

  • A Commonwealth or defence aircraft engaged in any flight, either in Australia or wholly outside.

The second step is where the legislation gets somewhat peculiar. The act or omission allegedly takes place on the aeroplane – but, the legislation provides that – if it had taken place in the Jervis Bay Territory and it is an offence in the Jervis Bay territory, then it is taken to be an offence on the aircraft.  

So in a general sense, the Crimes Act of the Australian Capital Territory is in force in the Jervis Bay Territory (along with other pieces of legislation). Offences in the ACT Crimes Act apply then, to persons on board a Division 2 aircraft. The ACT Crimes Act covers all manner of offences from offences against the person like assault and grievous bodily harm to sexual offences to damage to property.

Read on HERE for more information about criminal law implications on your return trip.

Got more questions? Call us on 02 8590 6084.

This information is a general guide only and does not constitute legal advice.

Travelling Part 2 - criminal law implications on return from overseas

Travelling Part 2 - criminal law implications on return from overseas

Kingston Fox Lawyers - Leading criminal defence firm 2019

Kingston Fox Lawyers - Leading criminal defence firm 2019