Knife Crimes – should there be tougher punishments?
Should the Sentencing Council call for tougher guidelines, given the increase in people carrying such weapons?
The courts saw a rise of offences concerning Possession of a bladed article or other bladed weapons by 16% from almost 10,000 to 11,500 from March 2015 to March 2016. The majority of sentences led to custodial sentences and the average sentence was approximately six months. This is almost double the length in comparison to a decade ago, but some 40% of the offenders were imprisoned for less than three months.
Due to the increase in knife crime the Sentencing Council reviewed the guidelines and introduced tougher guidelines to tackle this.
The law prohibits having with you, in a public place, any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed. The current sentencing guidelines state that if you are convicted of an offence within the Magistrates Court the maximum sentence is six months custody, however if you are convicted in the crown court the maximum sentence is two years custody.
If you have a previous conviction for this offence, the Court has to impose a minimum sentence of at least six months custody, unless the court is of the opinion that there are particular circumstances relating to the offence or the offender which make it unjust to do so in all the circumstances.
If you are found to be in possession of a knife but believe you have a good reason or lawful authority for having the bladed article, then this is a defence in law.
Here at Emery Johnson Astills, we offer free police station advice for anyone who is arrested for possession of a bladed article. If you find yourself in trouble with the police for carrying a bladed article, but believe you have a defence in law, please contact our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 where a member of our Criminal Team will be able to assist you.
Should your case proceed to the Crown Court, Emery Johnson Astills have Solicitors specialising in Crown Court advocacy. For a consultation with one of our specialist advocates please contact our offices.