The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
The offence of having an offensive weapon in a public place can be tried in either the magistrates' court or the Crown Court. The magistrates' court will decline jurisdiction in those cases where it appears that its powers of sentencing are insufficient.
Under the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 (PCA 1953) the prosecution must prove that the accused:
has with them
in a 'public place'
an 'offensive weapon'
without lawful authority or 'reasonable excuse'
The prosecution must prove that the accused had possession of the item. However, the words 'have with him a public place' mean more than mere possession or control of an item. The courts have held that the words mean 'knowingly has with him in a public place'. This means the prosecution must prove that the accused had actual knowledge of possession of the item. For further information on the meaning of the term, see Practice Note: Possession of a bladed article—Having the item with them.
The PCA 1953 defines a public place as including any highway, premises or other place to which the public has access, whether on payment or otherwise.
Whether a place is capable of being a public place is a question of law for the judge
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