Popley man found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon after being found with a haul of blades (From Basingstoke Gazette)
When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Popley man found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon after being found with a haul of blades
A BASINGSTOKE man found with an axe, three knives and nunchucks, has been found guilty of one charge of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.
Michael Whiston, 39, was found in a car with the weapons in Abbey Road, Popley, on January 26.
A two-day trial at Winchester Crown Court heard that police followed the car, owned by an acquaintance of Whiston, from Aldermaston Roundabout after spotting it had a faulty brake light at 11.40pm.
When they put the blue lights on, the car was abandoned in Abbey Road and the driver and one of the passengers fled, leaving Whiston in the front passenger seat.
Officers then discovered a large serrated knife in the front passenger door pocket, a twin arc bladed knife in Whiston’s body warmer, nunchucks on the floor of the passenger well and a small axe and large flat-handled knife in the rear of the car.
Whiston, of Abbey Road, was arrested and told the police he had just picked up the items and was merely transporting the weapons home.
He claimed to need them for protection after he and his family were burgled at knifepoint.
He pleaded not guilty to five charges relating to possessing bladed articles or offensive weapons in a public place.
Defending Whiston, Robert Bolton said that keeping weapons in your own home is not illegal – but it is against the law to have them in public without either lawful authority or a reasonable excuse, such as transporting them from one place to another.
He said: “This is not a court of morality” and advised the jury of seven men and five women that they should not be swayed by the “horror factor” after viewing the weapons.
The jury heard from Mark Ruffell, prosecuting, that when interviewed by police, Whiston had admitted being in possession of the nunchucks prior to January 26.
The jury found Whiston guilty of the charge relating to the nunchucks but not guilty of four charges of possessing bladed articles in a public place without lawful authority and reasonable excuse, which related to the three knives and the small axe.
Whiston will be sentenced at a later date. Judge Linda Sullivan warned him that he could be sent to prison, and released him on bail, subject to a curfew between 9pm and 6am.
He must also report to Basingstoke police station twice a week.
Comments are closed on this article.