Case Dismissed Bladed Article Highbury Corner Magistrates 2024
Our Client was charged with Possession of a Bladed Article contrary to section 139(1) and (6) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and was required to appear before Highbury Corner Magistrates Court. The allegation related to a folding lock knife which the police stated was found in our Client’s bag when his tent was searched by the police on suspicion of him having drugs.
Our client's instructions were that the folding lock knife did not belong to him and that it was not in his possession. He instructed that the knife had been found on the floor near to his tent. Our client therefore pleaded ‘not guilty’ and a trial date was set. These proceedings were crucial, as our Client had no previous convictions for offences of a violent nature.
The Defence sought disclosure of relevant material from the Crown, specifically the Body Worn Video footage of the police finding the knife in our Client’s bag, which the Crown failed to provide in time. The Defence called attention to the Crown’s failure to discharge their obligation of disclosing material that may have assisted the Defence, putting pressure on them to disclose it. When the Body Worn Video footage was eventually served, it was scrutinised by the Defence where we noted that there was no clear evidence of the knife being found in our Client’s possession.
Further, the Defence also identified several legal issues which arose on the facts of the case. First, we argued that a ‘tent’ did not constitute a ‘public place’ for s139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, such that the offence was not made out. Second, we submitted that, in searching our Client’s property, the police had acted unlawfully, as s23(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 only empowered officers to search our Client’s person, vehicle or boat. To search our Client’s property, the police required a warrant under s23(3) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which they did not have.
Consultant solicitor John Geraghty was instructed by paralegal Maeve Carroll to represent our Client before Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court for his trial. Before the trial commenced, the Defence made submissions to the Crown regarding the above issues. After being granted time by the Judge at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court to consider the Defence’s submissions, the parties were called back into Court where the Crown offered no evidence against our Client, and a verdict of ‘not guilty’ was entered. Our Client's non-violent record was preserved, and his right to not be subject to unlawful police search was vindicated.