NOT TOO SHARP: People caught carrying knives in public have claimed they were unaware it was illegal.
NOT TOO SHARP: People caught carrying knives in public have claimed they were unaware it was illegal. Rob Williams

Possessing a knife in public is not too cleaver

IT MIGHT seem like an obvious rule: don't carry knives in public.

It's a law Ipswich residents are continuing to break though - and the most common excuse is that they didn't know any better.

At Ipswich Magistrates Court, two people were separately charged with possession of a knife in a public place.

Bradley John Smith found himself in trouble when he was caught walking the streets of Lowood with a butcher knife during the early hours of the morning.

Police approached him after they received reports of a suspicious man in the area on May 3.

When the officers stopped to speak with Smith, they noticed the 28-year-old had a knife in his hand.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Brad Dick said the blade was about 15cm long.

Smith told the police he had just found the knife a short distance away and didn't realise it was illegal to possess the item in public.

In Yamanto, about three weeks earlier, teenager Nick Austin Almond was charged with the same crime.

The 17-year-old was brought to the police's attention following calls on April 16 at 8.50pm from concerned residents about a man armed with a knife.

When police stopped the teen he told them he always carried his knife with him when he was out.

Like Smith, Almond said he didn't realise that he had broken the law.

Almond's defence lawyer Amy Little said her client had acquired the knife when he went to Malaysia in Year 11.

Magistrate Barry Cosgrove said ignorance of the law was not an excuse.

"If you're employment requires you to own a knife, you need to make sure it is secured in a toolbox or something," Mr Cosgrove explained.

"Many people say they carry knives for protection, that's the worst thing they could do because that means they are prepared to use them."

Ipswich Police Inspector Keith MacDonald said if you carried a knife in public, you could expect someone would alert police about it.

"If people see someone with a knife in public, their presumption is usually that the person has - or is about to - undertake illegal activity," he said.

"It's similar to if a person carried a firearm around in the community.

"There is rarely ever a good reason for someone to be in possession of a knife in public."

Almond was fined $150. Smith was not further punished. No convictions were recorded.

Both knives were forfeited.

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