QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE MITTING
|DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS||(DEFENDANT)|
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MISS E STRATTON (instructed by CPS Bermondsey) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
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"(1) Subject to subsections (4) and (5) below, any person who has an article to which this section applies with him in a public place shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) Subject to subsection (3) below, this section applies to any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except a folding pocketknife."
There is no need in the present case to refer to subsections (3),(4) or (5). Subsection (7) provides:
"In this section 'public place' includes any place to which at the material time the public have or are permitted access, whether on pavement or otherwise."
(a) On 22nd December 2003 the appellant had been living at 14 Rutford Road for about six months. The premises are a bail hostel occupied by a number of other persons. Access to the building is by key for residents. For non-residents an intercom (shown on the photographs produced by the defendant) has to be used . . .
(f) The appellant went to the reception area of the hostel where he behaved in an angry manner. He then went outside and was locked out. He was still very angry . . .
(h) I was shown some photographs of the front area of the address. I found that when the appellant was first seen he was standing in about the position of the manhole cover shown on the second photograph, that is to say, about halfway along the path between the hostel building and the wall marking the front boundary of the premises . . .
(l) 14 Rutford Road, London, SW16 is a bail hostel in multi occupation.
(m) As I could see from the photographs that were produced --
(i) the hostel was set far back from the road;
(ii) the pedestrian entrance from the road is a gap in the front wall and there is no gate;
(iii) the wall is a low wall about ten bricks, or one metre, high which marks the boundary with the public highway;
(iv) there is no fence or other obstruction on the wall;
(v) there are no signs prohibiting access in any way whatsoever;
(vi) access to the front of the hostel is unimpeded."
"I was of the opinion and found that --
(a) having regard to the nature of the premises, it was a hostel in multi occupation;
(b) the premises were set well back from the road with an extensive open area in front;
(c) there was no barrier preventing unimpeded access to the front area;
(d) there were no notices or signs prohibiting or restricting access that the area where the appellant had been apprehended was not a private garden but was a public place to which the public had access within the meaning of section 139(7) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988."
The District Judge asks whether he was correct so to find.