QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
London WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE OPENSHAW
|THE CROWN COURT AT CANTERBURY||Defendant|
WordWave International Limited
A Merrill Communications Company
165 Fleet Street London EC4A 2DY
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7404 1424
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
The Defendant was unrepresented
Crown Copyright ©
"It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under the section to prove that he had good reason or lawful authority for having the article with him in a public place".
"The defendant's account as given to us in evidence is that earlier that day he had been in Hastings visiting his friend, Mr Martin Lott, whom we also heard from. Mr Martin Lott had this knife, he described it as a fishing knife, that was a present from his wife. He was going through a rocky patch in his marriage and was feeling down and said words to the effect of, 'she gave it to me, I would like to give it back to her', which this defendant took to be, as we understand it, a veiled threat against his wife, whereupon this defendant took possession of the knife. The defendant's case is that he then put [it] into the back pocket of his jeans and simply forgot about it for the rest of the day.
We, all three of us, unhesitatingly do not accept that evidence. We reject that evidence as being untruthful. In particular, we have in mind that the knife with the wooden handle and brass ends would have been hard, whereas the money in his pocket, even a substantial quantity which he tells us about, approximately £1,200 in cash, would not have been so hard. In any event, we do not believe that he could simply forget about this possession in the circumstances he says that it came into his possession.
In addition, when giving evidence, when asked if he had recounted the conversation between him and his friend Mr Lott to his wife in the restaurant he said yes, but then said that he had not told her about the knife. We find it inconceivable that if he had recounted the exchange between himself and Mr Lott, he would not then have remembered about the knife and at least told his wife about it and realised that he had needed to hand it to the police.
We have been referred to the law in the case of R v Jolie, a decision of the Court of Appeal criminal division,  EWCA Crim 1543, which of course means that the Crown do not have to prove that he had it knowingly in his possession. We are perfectly satisfied that he had it knowingly in his possession in a public place. We do not necessarily have to go into his explanation of how it came into his possession, in our judgment that is unnecessary, and consequently we do not do so."
"The judge declines to state a case on the basis that the grounds put forward are frivolous. The appeal was declined on a issue of fact, the bench did not believe the defendant's evidence. There is no point of law here. In the judgment delivered, the judge made it plain that the court did not believe the defendant when he said he forgot he had the knife on his person. She said it was therefore unnecessary to go into the evidence of how it had come to be in his possession in the first place because the court had rejected his evidence of how it came to be on his person that night".