A man has been found not guilty of carrying a knife in public – after a District Judge demonstrated that the blade could be folded up.
But the man caught with it still faces arrest for failing to show up for his trial in Huddersfield.
Alexander Buckley, 22, had denied a charge of possessing a bladed article in public without any lawful excuse.
Kirklees Magistrates’ Court heard evidence from the police officer who stopped his vehicle near to the Oldgate House student flats in the town centre at around 4.30am on May 1.
Buckley was initially arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after failing a roadside breath test.
He was then searched and found to be in possession of a silver and black handled knife.
This was seized from Buckley, of Diamond Street in Moldgreen, the court was told.
Buckley had denied the offence and the issue of the trial was whether this was a folding pocket knife or not.
The law states that the offence of possession of a bladed article in public does not apply to folding knives that have a blade shorter than three inches.
This is provided that they do not have a mechanism to lock the blade in an open position.
District Judge Michael Fanning was handed the knife, contained in a clear plastic box, to examine and measure it.
He said: “The blade is two-and-three-quarter inches and readily foldable.
“While it is ugly it doesn’t fulfil the relevant criteria and the defendant cannot be found guilty of the offence of possession of a fixed blade pocket knife.
“It’s surprising that you can carry this sort of thing in the community, but you can.”
Buckley was formally found not guilty and the case against him was dismissed.
But because he failed to show up for his trial, Judge Fanning issued a warrant for his arrest.
This was despite Buckley’s solicitor Jonathan Slawinski arguing that if the case had been reviewed properly it would not have come to court in the first place.
Judge Fanning added: “I don’t think defendants who are granted bail can pick and chose whether to come to court or not.
“It’s a serious offence and, if convicted, he could have gone to prison.
“I’m directing a warrant without bail.”