Possession of an offensive weapon
Possession of an offensive weapon

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Possession of an offensive weapon
  • The offence of possession of an offensive weapon
  • Elements of the offence of possession of an offensive weapon
  • 'Has with him'
  • 'In a public place'
  • Meaning of 'offensive weapon'
  • Offensive weapons with a dual purpose
  • Without lawful authority or reasonable excuse
  • Sentencing for possession of an offensive weapon

STOP PRESS: The Sentencing Council has published offence specific guidelines for courts sentencing offences previously covered by a Definitive Guideline. The offence specific guidelines have been published online (and not in PDF or paper format) for both the magistrates’ courts and Crown Courts. They supersede and replace the PDF versions of the applicable Definitive Guidelines, which has been archived. The Sentencing Council has also published a new overarching guideline, which should be considered in respect of all sentencing exercises: the General guideline—overarching principles (the General guideline). This specifically designed to be used in conjunction with offence specific guidelines and covers seriousness as well as providing expanded explanations for aggravating and mitigating factors, culpability and harm, see Practice Note: Sentencing Council General Guideline—Overarching Principles. This Practice Note is being updated in light of these developments.

The offence of possession of an offensive weapon

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.

Elements of the offence of possession of an offensive weapon

Under the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 (PCA 1953) the prosecution must prove that the accused:

  1. 'has with him'

  2. in a 'public place'

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