Custody of a knife in a public place

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What is Custody of a knife in a public place ?

Being in custody of a knife in a public place or a school is an offence.

Case law/Jurisdiction

An offence of Custody of a knife is what is known as a Summary Offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court.

The Law

The offence is found under S 11C Summary offences Act 1988 (NSW) which reads:

A person must not, without reasonable excuse (proof of which lies on the person), have in his or her custody a knife in a public place or a school.

What must the prosecution prove?

Since custody of a knife is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

The prosecution must prove the Accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

To establish custody of a knife, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You had in your custody a knife;
  • At the time you were in a public place or a school; and
  • It was without reasonable excuse

If you are charged with the offence of CUSTODY OF KNIFE what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers (NCL) have been successful in defending a large number of Custody of a knife charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of Custody of a knife. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Custody of a knife charges.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Custody of a knife:

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended ;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing)with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the element of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Maximum Penalties

Custody of a knife can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years, a fine of up to $2200 or both.

Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending and are unlikely to be the penalty you receive.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers have defended thousands of people charged with Cultivate and are experts at these hearings.


You will not be found guilty if you can establish that the custody was for a reasonable purpose. An example of this would be

  • the lawful pursuit of the person’s occupation, education or training;
  • the preparation or consumption of food or drink;
  • participation in a lawful entertainment, recreation or sport;
  • the exhibition of knives for retail or other trade purposes;
  • an organised exhibition by knife collectors;
  • the wearing of an official uniform;
  • genuine religious purposes;
  • the custody is reasonably necessary in all the circumstances during travel to or from or incidental to an activity referred to in paragraph

However, it is not a reasonable excuse for the purposes of this section for a person to have custody of a knife solely for the purpose of self-defence or the defence of another person.

Other defence may also be available for a person charged with this offence. To read more about our defence, please visit our dedicate defences at all page.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a custody of a knife charge.

  • Prison sentence;
  • Home Detention;
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention);
  • Suspended sentence;
  • Community service order (CSO);
  • Good behaviour bond;
  • Fine; and/or
  • Section 10

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment;
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available;
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • Fine; and/or
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO)

Case Studies

Our client was caught by an under-cover police officer during a random breath stop with a long army knife in his back seat.

The police charged him with the offence of “custody of knife in a public place”.

Our client instructed us that he was fishing with some friends and needed the knife to assist with cutting fish lines.

Our Principal Solicitor, Mr Michael Moussa, proceeded to a full-blown defended hearing. Our client was examined on the witness stand and gave oral evidence. Through the assistance Mr Moussa in assisting our client with open ended questions, he was found not guilty at the Downing Centre Local Court of NSW by successfully establishing a reasonable purpose for use of the knife.

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with custody of knife in a public place, our Team and National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

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