Possessing a knife in a public place or school is a crime under section 11C of the Summary Offences Act 1988 which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison and/or a fine of $2,200.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant:
1. Possessed a knife, and
2. Did so in a public place or school.
A ‘knife’ includes a knife blade, a razor blade, and any other blade.
The law also says that the person in possession is required to prove that ‘reasonable excuse’ on the balance of probabilities.
However, it is not a reasonable excise to have a knife solely for the purpose of self-defence or the defence of another person.
A “reasonable excuse” may be that you need the knife for work, for preparation of food in a public area, for recreational and entertainment purposes or for religious purposes. It is illegal to sell a knife to a person under the age of 16.
If you are found in possession of a knife, and you have a reasonable excuse, it may be a good idea to state the excuse to police as this might prevent you from being charged or – if you are charged – be used to have the case dropped shortly afterwards.
If you are being faced with a criminal charge, please call Anderson Boemi Lawyers on (02) 9653 9466 to arrange a consultation with an experienced criminal lawyer.