A MAN arrested on the day the Queen visited Huddersfield has had the charge against him reduced.
Daniel Bleazard had been accused of possessing an offensive weapon – a large wooden-handled axe – in St George’s Square about 30 minutes before the monarch was due to start a walkabout on May 24.
He pleaded not guilty on June 1 and was told to return to Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Bleazard, 33, of Adelphi Road in Marsh, was due to be sent for trial at crown court.
But defence lawyer Robert Carr told magistrates that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) wrote to him on June 11 admitting there was not enough evidence to continue with the offensive weapon charge.
Prosecuting lawyer Shamaila Qureshi then asked the court to reduce the charge to possession of a bladed article.
Bleazard, dressed in blue jeans and a jacket, pleaded not guilty when the new charge was put to him.
He then chose to be tried at crown court rather than by magistrates.
Magistrate Eileen Marchant adjourned the case to August 16 and gave the defendant unconditional bail.
But she had harsh words for the CPS over the change of charge.
Mrs Marchant said: “I agree to let the prosecution lay a new charge in the interests of justice.
“But I’m appalled that this case can’t be committed today. The CPS has been inefficient.”
Police arrested Bleazard shortly before the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were due to start a walkabout in St George’s Square.
A crowd of thousands had packed into the square to welcome them.
Earlier the royal couple had visited Huddersfield University, where they enjoyed a three-course Indian lunch.
The Queen then unveiled the foundation stone of the university’s new creative arts building.
She also visited The Media Centre in Northumberland Street.
Meanwhile Prince Philip visited the eco-friendly housing project on Ridge Street at Primrose Hill.