A MAN who was caught with a four-foot felling axe at a Royal parade in Huddersfield has won a 12-month reduction in his six-year jail term at the Court of Appeal.
Daniel Bleazard, 34, of Adelphi Road, Marsh, was jailed at Bradford Crown Court in January after being convicted of two counts of possessing a bladed article, going equipped for theft and breaching an Asbo.
But yesterday, he succeeded in an appeal and won a reduction in his total sentence to five years.
Bleazard was stopped by police after he upset Royal watchers as he pushed through crowds to get to the front as the Queen passed through St Georges Square on a parade on May 24 last year.
When he was searched, he was found to have the axe partially concealed in a carrier bag. He said he was simply carrying the axe and was intending to cut some wood because his chainsaw was broken.
He offended again while on bail for that offence. He was caught by police carrying a Stanley knife and other theft-related tools.
Yesterday, lawyers representing the 34-year-old argued that the sentencing judge had, in effect, punished him twice.
He received 18 months for the breach of the Asbo and four-and-a-half years for possessing the knife and axe.
The Crown Court judge ordered that the sentences run consecutively, even though the facts leading to the axe and Asbo breach charges were identical, effectively punishing him twice for the same offence, it was argued.
Giving the Appeal Court’s judgment, Sir Igor Judge said: “Carrying a knife or offensive weapon without reasonable excuse is a crime which is being committed far too often by far too many people.
“Every weapon carried about the streets, even if concealed from sight, even if not likely to be used or intended to be used, represents a threat to public safety and public order.
“That is because, even if carried only for bravado or carried for some misguided sense that it would be used in possible self-defence, it takes only a moment of irritation, drunkenness, anger, perceived insult or something utterly trivial, like a ‘look’, for the weapon to be produced.”
But he added: “Our conclusion is that, given the circumstances in which the counts both related to identical behaviour, the total sentence in the case was excessive.
“The sentences for possession of the bladed articles will not be interfered with. They seem to us to be entirely appropriate.
“We have taken the view that the appropriate way of dealing with this case is to reduce the sentence for breach of the Asbo from 18 months to six months to run consecutively.”