Knife-carrier set to be spared jail term

A MAN who admitted regularly carrying a knife and told police he would not hesitate to use it looks set to avoid a jail term.South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard that Mahad Ismail, 32, of Woodbridge Road East, was arrested by police on April 25 after they spotted the handle of a kitchen knife sticking out of his back pocket.

Neil Puffett

A MAN who admitted regularly carrying a knife and told police he would not hesitate to use it looks set to avoid a jail term.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard that Mahad Ismail, 32, of Woodbridge Road East, was arrested by police on April 25 after they spotted the handle of a kitchen knife sticking out of his back pocket.

The court heard that Ismail regularly carried a knife for protection and told officers he “would not hesitate to use it”.

Possession of a knife in public carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison but despite expressing “concern about risk to the public” magistrates said they were likely to impose either a supervision or community sentence.

The hearing comes in a week when top judge Sir Igor Judge, claimed knife crime has escalated to “epidemic proportions” and has to be “confronted and stopped”.

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South East Suffolk Magistrates' court heard that police took Ismail to the YMCA on Norwich Road, where he was staying at the time, following an earlier incident during which he was assaulted.

Police arrested him when he was later seen on the grassy area outside the YMCA with a knife in his back pocket.

Emma Lister, prosecuting, said: “The defendant said he carried a knife to protect himself and would have no hesitation in using it.”

Neil Holt, mitigating, said a woman had been arrested as a result of the earlier incident and Ismail feared that others at the fracas may assault him.

He said: “He believed had he stepped out on to the pavement without some form of protection he would be assaulted by these people.”

Chairman of the magistrates David Brennan adjourned for sentencing reports indicating that a supervision order or community penalty was the most likely outcome. Ismail was granted unconditional bail to appear for sentencing on May 30.

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Sir Igor Judge, president of the High Court Queen's Bench Division said courts should be imposing the “most severe” sentences appropriate.

He said: “Even if the offender does no more than carry the weapon, even when the weapon is not used to threaten or cause fear, when considering the seriousness of the offence, courts should bear in mind the harm which the weapon might foreseeably have caused.”

Government is keen to tackle the perceived escalation in knife crime amid outrage over a spate of knife murders, many involving teenagers in London.

Just last week 26-year-old Kieran Botterill, of Stowmarket, was jailed for the murder of 21-year-old Zak Brown, of Stowmarket, after being found guilty of stabbing him with a knife.

And this weekend there was an outpouring of grief for Harry Potter actor Robert Knox who was stabbed to death outside a London pub on Saturday.

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