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Weapon-carrying generation is living on a knife's edge

ASSAULTS often happen in the heat of a moment and if a knife is involved it can result in terrible consequences.

In the past six months there have been seven knife-related incidents in Mackay. Two have been fatal.

And a regular flow of people appears in the Mackay Courthouse on charges of possessing a knife in a public place.

The maximum penalty for carrying a knife in a public place is $4400, or one year's imprisonment.

"The legislation is there for people not to carry knives," Mackay police station officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Craig Sanderson said.

"A lot of assaults happen in the heat of the moment ... and if people aren't carrying those items, then obviously they can't be used in the moment as a weapon and injure someone else."

It's the younger generation that is showing a propensity to carry a blade.

Snr Sgt Sanderson said the reasoning was often "self-defence".

However, according to the Weapons Act 1990, this is not a "reasonable excuse".

"That is a concern ... because they've formed that intent, if confronted by someone, for whatever reason, that they are prepared to use that knife," Snr Sgt Sanderson said.

"Culture has changed ... the younger generation are prepared to carry a knife ... for that reason of self protection, whereas (for) previous generations it wasn't in their culture to do that."

Education was the only way to change that culture, Snr Sgt Sanderson said.

Flick knives and switch blades were illegal because they could be opened with one hand, he said.

However, there were exceptions.

"If (people) have a reasonable excuse, take, for example, a butcher, they can carry specific (knives)," Snr Sgt Sanderson said.

You would expect a butcher to carry any tools of his trade in a case, compared to one knife in someone's pocket, he said.

It's also how it (a knife) is carried and if other people nearby feel threatened.

"(Officers) are always concerned when people are found carrying a weapon of any kind ...", Snr Sgt Sanderson said.

"Particularly something like a knife, which is a readily available item and unfortunately so easily used in an assault or something like that.

"Our encouragement is that no one has possession of them in line with the legislation unless (they) have those specific reasons why they should be carrying (a knife)."

 

Legislation

You can carry a knife:

  •  To perform a lawful activity, duty or employment
  •  To participate in a lawful entertainment, recreation or sport
  •  For lawfully exhibiting the knife
  •  For use for a lawful purpose

 

FINED IN COURT

Jacob Grey Gartner thought he was allowed to carry a folded knife because he used it for his job.

However, the blade in question was a black-handled Humvee knife, the Mackay Magistrates Court heard.

The prosecution asked that the knife, which is considered a Category M weapon, be forfeited.

Gartner, 19, said he bought the knife for about $40 and used it at work to cut rope. He had been told by his employer that he was allowed to have such a blade for work, the court heard.

The knife was uncovered by police during a random breath test about 8.02pm on February 23. Gartner was the driver, the court heard.

Magistrate Damien Dwyer posed a question: If Gartner knocked off work at 1pm, why was he still carrying the blade at 8pm?

The court heard that Gartner had forgotten he put the knife in his pocket.

"It's common sense as to why you shouldn't carry knives around," Mr Dwyer said.

"They are weapons."

Gartner pleaded guilty to possessing a knife in a public place. He was fined $500. No conviction was recorded.

 

MATTER ADJOURNED

Bobby James Bullock told police he wanted to stab someone because he was bored and, at the time, he was armed with a knife, a court heard.

Magistrate Damien Dwyer said: "This is disturbing."

Police confiscated a 24 centimetre knife with a 12 centimetre blade from Bullock.

On March 24 police received several phone calls about a man, armed with a knife, who was stabbing at and threatening vehicles as they drove past, the Mackay Magistrates Court heard.

Bullock was unwilling to go with police until they showed him a taser, the court heard.

He told officers he'd "gone to the harbour to stab a (expletive) (expletive) because he was bored".

Bullock pleaded guilty to possessing a knife in a public place.

Defence solicitor Dave Ritchie, of ATSI Legal Services, said it was an expression of frustration.

Mr Ritchie said Bullock wasn't serious. He wasn't stabbing at cars, he was stabbing at council signs.

Bullock suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Mr Dwyer ordered a psychologist's report on Bullock, which can take six to eight weeks.

There was a concern Bullock may commit further offences, the court heard.

Bullock is moving back to Clermont. The matter was adjourned.



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