Knife crime update

3rd May 2019

Knife crime update

The worrying increase in knife crime has affected all areas of this country including, it seems, Suffolk according to a recent release of statistics. It concerns me that weapons that can so easily result in fatal injuries are not only carried but used so frequently on our streets.

A recent case in the Court of Appeal has highlighted the risks involved by associating with people who carry knives and are hell bent for trouble. Many people will not realise that a person can be found guilty of murder or manslaughter even if they did not strike the fatal blow. A conviction for murder carries an automatic life sentence.

You might think that if two people go out looking for trouble and one carries a knife and the other knows he was carrying a knife, both are equally to blame if the knife carrier wounds and fatally injures another person. You might very well be right about that. Certainly, the law as it stands would agree with you.

But what about the case where to two people go out together and one does not know that the other was carrying a knife. It had been thought that where the presence of the knife was not known it would make a big difference, but not anymore.

The Court of Appeal has said in Tas [2018] EWCA Crime 2603 that whether or not the knife was known about is not the issue. What is important is whether there was a joint intention both to take part in an assault and to cause death or grievous bodily harm (in which case a conviction for murder would follow) or just some lesser harm (in which case a conviction for manslaughter would follow) and a person dies as a result.

This is a hugely important decision to those who contemplate violence, as the presence of a sharp knife can change an assault into a fatality so tragically easily.

The message has to be, do not carry knives and do not associate with those who may carry knives. A punch alone may lead to a bruise. A punch with a knife is almost certain to lead to very serious injury or death.

Somehow, the catastrophic potential for harm caused by knives on the street has to be eradicated. It is clear that the message has not yet got through to our young people.

For more advice on your rights or for representation, contact Hugh Rowland on hugh.rowland@gotelee.co.uk or call 01473 298141.

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