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Custody of Knife in Public Place or School

In NSW, being in custody of a knife in a public place or a school is an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and or fines of up to 20 penalty units.


The offence of custody of a knife in a public place or a school is contained in section 11C of the Summary Offences Act 1988 which states: 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.

What Actions Might Constitute Custody of a Knife in a Public Place or School?

A knife is defined as any razor blade or blade in section 3 of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW).

You could be charged under this offence if you are carrying on your person, or in your bag, or in a car of which you are in control a knife or blade, without reasonable excuse.

The legislation sets out that a reasonable excuse includes that custody of a knife is necessary because of:

  • a person’s occupation/training;
  • preparation or consumption of food;
  • use in lawful entertainment/recreation/sport;
  • exhibition of knives for retail or trade purposes;
  • organised exhibition by knife collectors;
  • wearing of official uniform;
  • genuine religious purposes; or
  • during travel to or from or incidental to any of the above activities.

Self-defence or defence of another is not a reasonable excuse.

What must be proven?

To convict you of having custody of a knife, the police must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • you had in your custody a knife
  • at the time you were in a public place or a school
  • it was without reasonable excuse

They will also need to prove that you were the person who committed the custody of a knife offence.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

This matter is a summary matter and will be heard in the Local Court.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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