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Thread: Knife Laws in Australia??

  1. #1
    Flashaholic lukestephens777's Avatar
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    Default Knife Laws in Australia??

    Do any Aussies know what the knife laws are in NSW?
    I would like a small spyderco, but think theyre basically always
    deemed illegal! Drives me nuts!

    If anyone could help me it out it'd be great!!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Mad1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    I think in Austraila the knife laws are the same as the UK.

    You will be ok to carry a non-locking knife that has a non aggressive looking blade, so no spydie edges, that is sub 3" in length.

    A Spyderco UK penknife would be a good buy.

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    Flashaholic* elgarak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    What happened to the "That's not a knife! THAT is a knife!" ??

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    Flashaholic* Echo63's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    not sure what the laws are in NSW but here in WA you must have a legitimate reason for carrying it- whatever your carry
    try www.laventrix.com - its an australian knife forum
    flashlight collector by day
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Quote Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
    What happened to the "That's not a knife! THAT is a knife!" ??
    inanimate objects apparently do animate in the minds of the law makers everywhere these days.
    "a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen." -Warren vs District of Columbia, after three women were raped, beaten for 14 hours and police never came after numerous 911 calls were placed

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    Flashaholic* Glen C's Avatar
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    Last edited by Glen C; 07-12-2007 at 04:05 AM. Reason: show relevant page

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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Quote Originally Posted by Mad1 View Post
    I think in Austraila the knife laws are the same as the UK.

    You will be ok to carry a non-locking knife that has a non aggressive looking blade, so no spydie edges, that is sub 3" in length.

    A Spyderco UK penknife would be a good buy.

    http://www.lighthound.com/index.asp?...OD&ProdID=1873
    You might want to check out the Falkniven U1 also, if laws are the same as in the UK.
    Favs: TiPD-S's, Spy 007s

  8. #8
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    I skimmed through this but couldnt figure out if my EDC knives are illegal...
    I keep a Schrade multitool in the car, and a SAK in my pocket or bag some days.

    It seems to me they are more concenrned with assisted opening knives... I'm looking into this as one of my next buys!!! not so sure now.

    I guess at the end of the day, legal or not, this is enforced by police who for the most part are very reasonable. I cant imagine a scenario/time when i would be searched by police. I dont carry a knife when i go out at night or to the footy (go the sharks!!) etc.

    Robert

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    Flashaholic DrifT3R's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    well, you do see some big knives at big of knives and Aussie disposals.

    I did get a 2.5 inch knife through customs.
    aah, me eyes!!! =]

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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    When I was over there last year I was told that ALL folding blades, whether locking or slipjoint, are illegal to carry in a public place in NSW. UNLESS the blade was part of what I think is legally termed a ?'toolkit knife'. In other words a multi-tool, eg, leatherman, gerber, SAKs etc.
    It was a volunteer fire officer who told me so I guess they knew what they were talking about. They also said though that in the rural areas and smaller towns so long as you act sensibly and keep things discreet people carry what they like in terms of folding knives. I saw people openly using knives (fishermen, farmers, sports folks) that would cause most Brit cops to have kittens but as they had a legit purpose and weren't being silly no one looked twice.
    Refreshing to a Brit I can say.

    D.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* RAF_Groundcrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Quote Originally Posted by donn View Post
    When I was over there last year I was told that ALL folding blades, whether locking or slipjoint, are illegal to carry in a public place in NSW. UNLESS the blade was part of what I think is legally termed a ?'toolkit knife'. In other words a multi-tool, eg, leatherman, gerber, SAKs etc.
    It was a volunteer fire officer who told me so I guess they knew what they were talking about. They also said though that in the rural areas and smaller towns so long as you act sensibly and keep things discreet people carry what they like in terms of folding knives. I saw people openly using knives (fishermen, farmers, sports folks) that would cause most Brit cops to have kittens but as they had a legit purpose and weren't being silly no one looked twice.
    Refreshing to a Brit I can say.

    D.
    Amen..... I am in the RAF here in old Blighty, and my EDC at work is a Spyderco Military, and very nice it is too. I think the heaviest task I have used it on to date is emptying sandbags following a NATO excercise in Cornwall a year ago or more. Hold sandbag over target, slash base of sandbag with Spydie Mil.... It REALLY took the edge off the knife, more than anything else ever! (abrasive sand and hessian sandbags). I had to wash the sand grains off in a water bucket, but the knife is now sharp as ever, after some TLC on my Lansky kit !
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  12. #12
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    Talking Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Okay, time for my two bob's worth on this one...

    For starters, I'm more familiar with Victorian laws than NSW, but I thought they were similar. Australian knife laws are NOT the same as the UK - In the UK a pocket knife is illegal to carry if it locks open which is not the case here (again, I'm talking Victoria specifically). Also, there is a 3" blade length limit in the UK which does not apply in Oz.

    The basic premise in Australia is that you must have a legitimate reason for carrying one - which includes needing it for work but NOT for self defence. Now, I'd argue that a pocket knife is useful for most jobs, but that's another story - if a cop decided you look dodgy the onus would be on you to prove your legitimate reason - I don't know if "I open my mail with it" would be good enough - there is nothing in the regulations about how you must use the knife at work for it to be acceptable.

    Sadly, the best advice is "don't carry anything that looks mean!" (so the 3" length rule is worth sticking to, even though there is no mention of length in the regulations) - and don't be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time!

    When I was living in the UK, I nearly had my UK Model Spyderco (which is a lovely thing and entirely LEGAL in the UK) confiscated when boarding the Eurostar because it looks mean - I wish Spyderco had printed "UK Model" on it - that would have saved some stress! I was also carrying a 2 bladed "gentlemans" knife which didn't concern them in the least and neither did my Leatherman Charge (with two 3" locking blades and therefore technically illegal). Similarly, I visited many museums etc where security was tight - my Swiss Army knife never raised an eyebrow (it was usually surrendered to security and returned when leaving the building). Perception is a big thing!

    Assisted openers - for sale over the counter and not specifically mentioned (in the Victorian regulations at least) so they're legal - but they look mean when you open them so be careful where you use them.

    Flick knives, which are banned everywhere and considered the spawn of Satan are, in all honesty, only banned because the bad guys use them in movies! They are no more dangerous or sinister than any other knife - but it's the perception. In the 18th century, an attempt was made on the life of the king of France. A ban on flick knives followed where the penalty for having one was execution! Of course, the knife used in the assassination attempt was NOT a flick knife!

    There is a LOT of misinformation around about knife laws - people get rather carried away with things. I wish I had a dollar for everytime I've been told "new laws have come in banning knives" - what bullshit! However it does pay to do a little research and be sure of the details. I'd be amazed if there was a problem with Spyderco knives in NSW (unless they've gone with the ridiculous "must not lock open" strategy which defies logic ) - however, some Spydercos DO look anti-social, and those are best avoided if you're concerned about problems with the law.

    Hope that's some help!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    As far as ownership goes (not public carry)... I've bought a number of Kershaw Speed Safe assisted openers from the US - Australian customs doesn't have a problem with them. I also brought a large kukri back from the UK (15" blade) - no problems.
    Double edged knives and swords are another issue (which again comes down to perception!)

  14. #14

    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    I'm an American married to an Australian and I don't think I'd want to pack a knife anywhere in Sydney.

    I do however carry a Victorinox Swisstool RS multitool on my belt regularly and the only occasions any NSW police ever approached me all they wanted to do was to check my train ticket.

    Not sure if it is their policy to ignore that or if they were just ignoring it because I'm not an Aussie.

    Richard

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    Flashaholic faco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Got home last night from work and what do I see..........a parcel with a lovely Chris Reeve Mnandi Pocket Knife inside.
    I was glad it passed through customs and only noticed a red circle ???? marked around the description of contents. They described the item as a Gentleman's pen knife. Not sure why they marked it, but the box wasn't opened
    I have been collecting small, under 3" pocket knives for many years and still have no idea what the law here in Victoria says about knives, every time I read about knife laws it never is clear to me.
    The Mnandi has a blade length of 2.75" or 69.5mm so I think It should be ok for pocket carry.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Quote Originally Posted by faco View Post
    Got home last night from work and what do I see..........a parcel with a lovely Chris Reeve Mnandi Pocket Knife inside.
    I was glad it passed through customs and only noticed a red circle ???? marked around the description of contents. They described the item as a Gentleman's pen knife. Not sure why they marked it, but the box wasn't opened
    I have been collecting small, under 3" pocket knives for many years and still have no idea what the law here in Victoria says about knives, every time I read about knife laws it never is clear to me.
    The Mnandi has a blade length of 2.75" or 69.5mm so I think It should be ok for pocket carry.
    One of the problems with discussions about knives is that newspapers love to sensationalise things - getting the facts right isn't usually a big consideration.

    For VICTORIA, The laws with regard to ownership aren't all that restrictive. I think there are some issues with double edged knives, a number of flick-knife type and martial arts knives and recently swords became a problem (they're so easy to conceal!), but most "normal" knives are fine. And my experience is that the customs guys aren't "out to get you" - just doing their job.
    With regard to CARRYING knives, the main proviso is that you have a legitimate reason for doing so. Self defence is NOT - and I repeat - NOT a legitimate reason - never let anyone trick you into saying you would use a knife to defend yourself. However needing it for your work IS a legitimate reason - of course, if the smelly brown stuff hit the rotary device, proving that you need it for work would be up to you.
    Unless the laws have changed recently, there is NO restriction on blade length, even though nearly everyone seems to think there is (maybe with double edged knives?) - having said that, I wouldn't advise being caught carrying the proverbial "9 inch semi-automatic chainsaw" type of knife! As a fellow fan of sub 3 inch blades, I think that's a sensible thing to carry. And preferably not a "tactical" looking knife - this isn't law, but it's best to avoid attracting attention!
    With regard to your red circle - customs does take notice of what comes through, but they only open the stuff they think might be a problem - I've had a few things opened for inspection - and I think it's quite possible that people who frequently buy knives from overseas may end up with their name on a list and have their stuff opened more often - but it's no big deal, just slows delivery a bit.

    The Australasian Knife Collectors website is worth a look, and a bit of Google searching should find a copy of the Control of Weapons Act for Victoria - which is worth looking at - try to find a recent version.

    Hope that's some help.
    My Disclaimer: I'm pretty well up with the Victorian laws - but don't take my word for it... do your own research if you're going to carry a knife!

    I'd like to check out that collection

    Cheers..

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    Flashaholic faco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Thanks for your reply & Info Dr_Lumen,

    I placed another order for a small CASE knife last night, lets see if this one gets the famous "red circle".

    I have the Australasian Knife Collectors website bookmarked and also a few others. Anyone subscribe to Knives Australia Magazine ? go for it, its a great read

    Thanks for your help Mate, When I get some time I'll take a photo of my small collection for ya

    faco


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    Flashaholic* 276's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    [quote=Mad1;2077398]I think in Austraila the knife laws are the same as the UK.

    You will be ok to carry a non-locking knife that has a non aggressive looking blade, so no spydie edges, that is sub 3" in length.

    A Spyderco UK penknife would be a good buy.

    With out sounding dumb what do u mean non locking?
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    Flashaholic* 276's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    i live in the US and have always wanted to go to Australia and England and wanted to know the laws on knives. I would figure in australia knives would be ok. In the US its only legal to carry a knife thats is no bigger than the palm of your hand, though i dont carry an assited opener on me in public unless at work.
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    Flashaholic* KeeperSD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    With a quick search the NSW laws look very similar to Qld laws, meaning there are some restrictions on the type of knives that you can own, and almost a complete restriction on carrying them in public without good reason. Here is a link to some NSW legistlation i found

    NSW Summary Offences Act Section 11C

    Similarly here is the relevant Qld Legislation

    Qld Weapons Act Section 51

    From my readings of the links that Glen mentions and these one below certain types of knives are illegal to own, not just possess in NSW also.

    Read section 7 and schedule 1 of

    NSW Weapons prohibition act
    Last edited by KeeperSD; 09-19-2007 at 06:01 AM.
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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    My brother-in-law told me that it is illegal to even carry a Swiss Army knife in my pocket in the ACT.

    I used to carry it when I travelled (it was a present from my sister), but I don't now.

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    Flashaholic* KeeperSD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    lctorana,
    I am not sure about the ACT, but I am assuming that it would have a similar lawful purpose as Qld which states

    A person may carry a pen knife or swiss army knife for use for its normal utility purposes
    There's no truth in the news and no news in the truth

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    No. He said it is illegal even to carry one.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* KeeperSD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Just looked up the ACT legislation and it actually doesn't have a lawful purpose as i said it may, however the lawful purposes as defined it the ACT legislation are not restrictive which means I think a court would find it hard to find a person guilty of an offence if they were simply carrying a swiss army knife or a leatherman. If you were doing something stupid with it it might be a different story.

    Here is a link to the ACT legislation

    Section 382
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    Flashaholic* lctorana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Still wouldn't risk it.

    Not worth the grief.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic Tubor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    I got into trouble once as I had 3 knives on me here in the UK! I hadn't thought twice about it as they were all what I considered to be "pen knives" and I used them for various things around the house such as sharpening pencils (you still get a more useful pencil if sharpened with a knife IMO), changing plugs, model work and things boys get up to such as carving sticks in the garden (for making catapults usually - another hobby of mine). They were all under 4" and only one was over 3.5". I was told the limit was 3.5" and they accepted that I didn't have any "evil intent" and so let me keep my SAK and another small penknife, but confiscated the other one with my permission. That was almost 15 years ago - the laws now worry me as I'm not really sure what is legal and what isn't. It would be a shame to get a criminal record for having a very useful toolkit w/knife such as the SAK for example. Here in the UK, flick knives and butterfly knives are definitely illegal to carry/buy and so are "locking blades" and I'd worry about knives that "look good" or menacing, or with a blade longer than 3.5". Oz laws sound similar. I EDC a mini-SAK and bag carry my normal SAK when going out of town. I've been thinking about getting a leatherman too.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 276 View Post
    In the US its only legal to carry a knife thats is no bigger than the palm of your hand,
    The above comment is the most often quoted BS people repeat without knowing the law regarding knife carry in the US. I seriously doubt you can quote a single "codified in law" reference to the knife length and size of one's palm anywhere. In Texas for example as long as the knife is not double-edged (illegal dagger) the limit is 5.5 inches of BLADE length.

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    One of the problems getting advice on this is that many of the people who should know the law, don't. The laws are different in each state.
    Even finding the statutes can be difficult as knives (at least in South Australia) are addressed under 'prohibited weapons' and under the "Summary Offences Act". A Google search is your friend.
    What is very clear is than carrying a knife is PROBABLY OK if you have a legitimate use for it, which does NOT include self-defense. Legitimate use is also situational--if you use it for opening mail then carrying it into a night club is NOT OK. (I bet a night club carry would only be OK if you were working at something in the club, that required cutting.)
    In SA, knives are not allowed in or around any venue that serves alcohol--but that doesn't get applied to the restaurant kitchens!
    In most cases, if you are not doing anything that is likely to get you searched, and not being obviously stupid in using a knife, then nobody is going to know what you are carrying--or care.
    I've been carrying knives ever since I arrived in Australia (1977) and only had trouble once--carrying a 3.5 inch blade on an aircraft! (I don't carry any sharps on aircraft now.)
    Greg

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Hi all,

    I'm new to CPF and couldn't help but notice this knife thread (I'm a knife collector ).

    I live in NSW and have been collecting blades for about a year, but have had my share of pretty much all the types of blades that you can think of. However have gotten rid of all blades that require permits and might get me in trouble with the local constabulary.

    With regard to NSW knife laws...as mentioned by Dr Lumen and the other Aussies, they are pretty similar across all the states. As far as I have research it is not legal to carry any knife in public unless you are transporting it to and from a place of work (where you use those knives ie: as a cook etc..), or to or from a knife exhibition/ retail store, or for your use in hunting/ fishin.....so unless you have a geniune purpose for possesing the knife you better not have it on you or in your car/ possesion. I have heardof cops taking a more serious stance if the knife is concealed upon your person rather than say just pocketed or clipped.

    There is NO legal length limit for knives in NSW or anywhere in Oz as far as I know. Locking blades are OK. Balisongs are NOT, Daggers are NOT, flick knives are NOT, centrifugal knives are NOT.

    You CAN possess the above 'illegal blades' if you have a permit for the importation from your States Police Commissioner or State's Firearms Registry who administer these permits.

    AUstralian Customs do look out for knives, and especially of late have come up with very publicised seized knives (fantasy knives mainly) that look really mean, but are actually not illegal according to the letter of the law ....bloody confusing isn't it. You are able to buy knives online and import them into Australia by mail but ensure you know your State's legislation. Even then you are not safe from Customs seizures. ACS have confiscated stuff off me even though they are legal...just because they can threaten you ith legal proceedings and imprisonment.....They are trying their best to do their work, but they don;t get it right all the time.

    It is much easier to buy a knife on eBay and get it mailed to you with not much ACS intervention if it is a small folding blade with a non-threatening name (eg: Spyderco MicroDyad, or a pink coloured folder ! LOL) Rather than say one with a 5" folding blade capable of being flicked open by an overzealous Customs Officer (that is deemed as a flick knife or a centrifugal opener = illegal !!!)

    I would recommend joining the AKC (Australasian Knife Collectors Club) which gives you membership and some assistance in the knife department, also gives you bonafide collectors status, if that helps.

    The Laventrix Forums at www.laventrix.com is a pretty good aussie based knife forum if you want more info or help. Otherwise you can PM or email me for more specific answers/ recommendations.

    Cheers
    Daniel

    PS: I joined CPF for info and talk about lights, but my first post is about nives ROFL

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Knife Laws in Australia??

    Quote Originally Posted by Tubor View Post
    I got into trouble once as I had 3 knives on me here in the UK! I hadn't thought twice about it as they were all what I considered to be "pen knives" and I used them for various things around the house such as sharpening pencils (you still get a more useful pencil if sharpened with a knife IMO), changing plugs, model work and things boys get up to such as carving sticks in the garden (for making catapults usually - another hobby of mine). They were all under 4" and only one was over 3.5". I was told the limit was 3.5" and they accepted that I didn't have any "evil intent" and so let me keep my SAK and another small penknife, but confiscated the other one with my permission. That was almost 15 years ago - the laws now worry me as I'm not really sure what is legal and what isn't. It would be a shame to get a criminal record for having a very useful toolkit w/knife such as the SAK for example. Here in the UK, flick knives and butterfly knives are definitely illegal to carry/buy and so are "locking blades"
    The UK law is actually pretty simple. A sub 3" non-locking folder is permissible for carry without any reason.

    A locking folder is not illegal, but you require a reason to carry it in public, as you do to carry any fixed blade (things like camping, work)

    The legislation is section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988
    139 Offence of having article with blade or point in public place

    (1) Subject to subsections (4) and (5) below, any person who has an article to which this section applies with him in a public place shall be guilty of an offence.
    (2) Subject to subsection (3) below, this section applies to any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except a folding pocketknife.
    (3) This section applies to a folding pocketknife if the cutting edge of its blade exceeds 3 inches.
    (4) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had good reason or lawful authority for having the article with him in a public place.
    (5) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (4) above, it shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had the article with him—
    (a) for use at work;
    (b) for religious reasons; or
    (c) as part of any national costume.

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