What is custody of a knife in a public place?

Section 11C of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) provides that:

  1. A person must not, without reasonable excuse (proof of which lies on the person), have in his or her custody a knife in a public place or a school.

When charged with this offence, you will either be issued with a ‘court attendance notice’ that requires you to attend court, or you will be issued with a ‘penalty notice’ that simply requires you to pay a fine. Police have a discretion to issue you with a ‘penalty notice’ if you have not previously been charged with any knife offences.

Payment of the fine will not result in a criminal conviction or have any consequences of civil liability arising out of the same occurrence.  

Regulation 15 of the Summary Offences Regulation 2015 (NSW) provides that the fine is $550. Therefore, it would be sensible to pay the fine, rather than elect to have the matter heard in court.

What is a knife?

Section 3 of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) defines a knife as:

  1. a knife blade, or
  2. a razor blade, or
  3. any other blade.

What is a public place or a school?

The definitions of ‘school’ and ‘public place’ are both found in Section 3 of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW). It provides:

“public place” means:

  • a place (whether or not covered by water), or
  • a part of premises,

that is open to the public, or is used by the public whether or not on payment of money or other consideration, whether or not the place or part is ordinarily so open or used and whether or not the public to whom it is open consists only of a limited class of persons.

“school” means:

  • a government school or a registered non-government school within the meaning of the Education Act 1990 , and
  • a school providing education (whether secular or religious) at a pre-school or infants’ school level or at a primary or secondary level, and
  • a place used for the purposes of an establishment commonly known as a child-minding centre or for similar purposes, and
  • the land, and any building occupied by or in connection with the conduct of such a school or place,

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