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Custody of a Knife in a Public Place or School

Custody of a Knife in a public place or school is an offence under Section 11C of the Summary Offences Act 1988 which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You possessed a knife, and
  2. You were in a public place or school

A knife includes:

  1. A knife blade,
  2. A razor blade, and
  3. Any other blade

A public place is:

A place or part of a premises that is open to, or used by the public, whether or not for payment, and whether or not only open only to a limited class of persons.

It includes privately owned places that are open to the public, such as:

  1. Shopping centres and stores within them
  2. Restaurants, pubs and clubs, and
  3. Sporting venues

A defence to the charge is that you had a ‘reasonable excuse’ for possessing the knife which includes, but is not limited to, the knife being ‘reasonably necessary’ for:

  1. The lawful pursuit of your occupation, education or training
  2. The preparation or consumption of food or drink
  3. Participation in lawful entertainment, recreation or sport
  4. Exhibition for retail, trade or collector purposes
  5. Wearing an official uniform, or
  6. Genuine religious purposes

The onus is on you to prove the reasonable excuse ‘on the balance of probabilities’ which means greater than 50%.

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