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Man caught carrying a knife didn’t realise it was an offensive weapon

A Latvian national did not understand how a knife could be an offensive weapon, a court has heard.

Eriks Klincevics, 25, of Hanover Street, Portadown, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon in a public place at Craigavon Magistrates’ last Friday.

The incident took place at around 1.20am on May 11, last year, the defendant and two other men were passed on South Street, Portadown, by police.

One officer noticed an object protruding from the top right hand of Klincevics’s pocket.

When asked to empty his pockets by police the defendant produced a fold out knife.

Later in an interview when asked if he accepted that he was in possession of an offensive weapon, he replied: “If you describe it as an offensive weapon, I guess so”.

Court heard that Klincevics had followed his family to Northern Ireland from Latvia.

Defence counsel stated Klincevics had gained an education whilst in the country and his “very good English is a testament to this”.

The defence also told court probation officers saw their defendant as having a low risk of reoffending despite appearing before the court.

Court also heard that Klincevics was beginning the induction into new employment this month.

Summing up, defence counsel believed that it was the defendant’s “lack of understanding” which led him to be before the court.

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented that this was a “very serious offence” and suggested that perhaps the defendant “should have researched the country’s strict law on weapons before deciding to live here”.

Despite his limited record, the Judge sentenced Klincevics to two months in prison suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to pay £250 within 12 weeks for previous offences which were conditionally discharged back in July 2016. He was also told to pay an offender’s levy of £15.

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