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‘Law-abiding citizen’ unaware of knife laws avoids jail for carrying blade

Norwich Magistrates Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Magistrates Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A “law-abiding citizen” who was unaware of laws against carrying a knife has avoided immediate jail after being found with a blade for self protection.

Emanuel Wlodarczyk was searched by police in his home town of Watton at 3.30am on July 3 after police officers smelled cannabis.

They found a lock knife “clipped inside his waistband”, Norwich Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday.

But after the bench heard Wlodarczyk had been the victim of an unprovoked attack in Poland before moving to this country and had been unaware of the harsh laws against carrying knives in public in this country, they suspended a jail term.

Wayne Ablett, prosecuting, told the court: “Police officers were on mobile patrol in Watton around 3.30am when they came across him and another male sat on a bench. There was a strong smell of cannabis and the two were spoken to. They admitted having used cannabis so officers carried out a search, and a lock knife was found clipped inside Mr Wlodarczyk’s waistband.

“In interview, he said he carries a knife because he was attacked in Poland and he uses it for self defence.”

Sally Dale, mitigating, said: “You have before you a gentlemen of previous good character. He had no idea until he was told by the police what he was doing was against the law, because if he was in Poland it would not be.

“It was certainly not in any dangerous circumstances.

“While in Poland, he was attacked without warning by a group of five people. They completely smashed up his face, and ever since then he has carried a knife to protect himself.

“He was fully co-operative with police, and he is mortified he could be facing a custodial sentence.

“The new guidelines are very harsh - but they are of course still only guidelines. He works full time at a chicken farm. He has been in this country three years and he has an 11-year-old daughter in Poland, which is where his money goes. He is working six days a week on eight to 12 hour shifts.

“Had he known he was breaking the law, he would not have been carrying that knife.”

Wlodarczyk, 32, of Peddars Court, Watton, was given three months prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £115.

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