Conditional Discharge for Possession of a Knife

Conditional discharge - no criminal penalty
8 June, 2022

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Case study summary

Our client had complex mental health needs. He had a taken knife with him to a public venue not knowing it was illegal. We persuaded the court that this was an expectational case and they agreed to depart from the normal sentencing guidelines and give a conditional discharge.

Case study

We were approached by a vulnerable man who had a history of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. He was also a father to two children aged under 10 and had never been in trouble with the police before.

He had accidentally taken a knife with him to a snooker club, not knowing that it was illegal to do so. This led to him being charged with the offence of possessing a knife in a public place

He was terrified of the potential consequences and instructed our specialist criminal defence lawyers to represent him. Unfortunately, our client's lack of knowledge surrounding the offence was not a defence to this allegation. Therefore, he pleaded guilty to the only charge.

The challenge we faced was that courts, understandably, take a very serious stance on knife offences. To obtain the best possible result for the client, we had to show that this was a unique case. We did this by using a series of character references which put the offence into the right context.

Our client had a lot of factors in his favour: he had no previous convictions; challenging personal circumstances; and caring responsibilities. We used this material to persuade the court that they should pass a much lower sentence than they normally would.

We convinced the court to give our client a 12-month conditional discharge. This meant that he did not face any criminal penalty as long as he did not commit an offence in the next 12 months.

Our client was very relieved that we were able to quickly bring the case to the best possible conclusion. He is now able to focus on spending time with his children and getting support for his mental health.

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