Preston man loses appeal against jail term for carrying knife he claimed he had used as a tool

A man who was jailed under mandatory sentencing rules for possessing knives in public has had his attempt to appeal his sentence dismissed.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 3:45 pm

Sylvester Matl, 31, of Stanley Field Place, Preston, argued a minimum six month jail term imposed by magistrates in February was unjust, because he had been using the knife as a tool and had "forgotten" he had it on him.

His defence lawyer told Preston Crown Court he had used the knife to fix a wheel on a porter's trolley, which a friend had asked to borrow, and argued Matl, who has a similar offence on his record, could have been dealt with by imposing a suspended jail term.

Prosecuting, Wayne Jackson said at 11.40pm on October 31 last year, officers had attended a separate incident at Alexandra Pavilions in Preston and saw Matl pushing the trolley.

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Preston Crown Court

He said: " When the defendant saw the police officers he turned away and started walking away from them so they began to approach him and he made off at that stage.

"The officers got back into their vehicle to leave and he reappeared again. They alighted and asked him what was going on."

Matl told officers he was going to his friends, but then a police check showed he was wanted for breaching a court order.

When asked if he had anything on him that he shouldn't have, he replied he had a knife in his back pocket.

Police retrieved a black handled lock knife.

He later gave a prepared statement fully admitting he had the knife, had used it as a tool and had forgotten he had it on him as he was "rushing".

He pleaded guilty to possessing a balance in January and was jailed for six months on February 12 because it was the second such offence.

A sentencing guideline commonly known as the 'two-strike' rules means adults convicted more than once of being in possession of a bladed article face a minimum six month prison sentence.

Matl was previously given three months, suspended for a year, for possession of a knife, possession of amphetamine in February 2019.

The suspension period came to an end in February 2020, just eight months before the new offence.

Judge Philip Parry, sitting with two magistrates, said the appeal bench was satisfied Matl knew he had the blade on him and that he knew shouldn't have had it on him.

Dismissing the appeal, he added: " We reject any suggestion he had forgotten he had that knife in his possession as he set off, in the street - it just defies logic."

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