Magistrates’ Court acquittal for Possession of an Offensive Weapon
Sonn Macmillan Walker represented a defendant who was accused of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, namely a baton. Our client maintained from the outset that he was carrying the baton in fear of an imminent threat from another and would use this only if necessary in an act of self-defence.
Our client was arrested when the police approached a vehicle he was in. When asked if he had anything on his person he immediately alerted the police to the small baton he had down his trousers. He was co-operative from the start. At the police station he handed in a prepared statement which accepted possession of the baton and explained that he was under an imminent threat from another. He believed this person’s threats were genuine and an attack was forthcoming.
As this weapon is considered offensive per se under section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953, the defendant needed to show that on balance of probabilities he had a ‘lawful authority or a reasonable excuse’ for having the baton. To prepare for trial, we took a detailed account of events from our client and contacted a witness who could comment on our client’s demeanour when receiving the threats. We also served evidence showing examples of the threats he received via social media.
The court acquitted our client after finding he had a reasonable excuse as he feared an imminent attack.
Daniel Cavaglieri and Victoria Jackson prepared this case and Harry Laidlaw at 2 Bedford Row was instructed.