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sharkey
-15th November 2003, 14:47
I've done a bit of fencing at Uni where I was always told to keep my foil in a kit bag when in public. I wondered if anyone could answer me this question:

Are those people who have carry their epee / foil /sabre in public view (ie not in a bag) currently breaking the law?

Bear in mind that, in legal terms:

An 'Offensive weapon' is defined as "any article made OR ADAPTED for causing injury to the person". This obviously includes instruments with a blade or a sharp point.

Even with their spring-tipped points, even a foil would appear to come within the definition of an offensive weapon since it could be an article capable of causing injury to the person.

Do Clubs and Retailers have a duty to advise their members to carry their weapon in an equipment bag?

What has your experience been? Do you know anyone who might answer this question conclusively for me?

Thanks in advance

Sophie
-15th November 2003, 16:42
Not sure about the legal side of things, but when my kit bag was stolen from someone's car last year the police became VERY concerned when we explained that it was not just sports equipment that had been stolen but that the bag contained swords.

I think that if some unscrupulous people were to be aware that you were carrying "weapons", you could be letting yourself in for trouble that could quite easily be avoided.

It certainly made my blood run cold to think of the damage that a group of teenagers with my foils could have done to each other.

(Luckily my bag, complete with all contents (except for my tool kit and trainers) turned up a few weeks later - not the sort of thing that can easily be sold I think!)

Muso440
-15th November 2003, 17:12
Oh come on, aren't we overreacting a bit?

Surely it would be pretty hard to wound someone with a foil? unless you purposely snap it and make it sharp, or poke it in their eye (but you could do that with a biro if you were so inclined - a lot sharper than a foil in fact). Otherwsie the worst you could probably do would be to bruise someone to death.

Or am I being naive?

I would say, if you snapped off a foil to make a sharp point, that was *then* an article 'adapted to cause injury', but not otherwise.

I also wouldn't call it a sword in front of a policeman for the same reasons - ie. they would get the wrong end of the stick (as it were) and think you were referring to actual sharp things.

Jenrick
-15th November 2003, 17:19
The stand is that for a person to carry a sword! it is deemed an offensive weapon. It is therefore meant to be carried in a covered bag or even a hockey stick type bag. Police can be quite strict about it.

Muso440
-15th November 2003, 17:26
Originally posted by Jenrick
The stand is that for a person to carry a sword!

Not sure I understand your english here, sorry (it's a weekend). But do you mean fencers stand like duellists. or what?
you could stand like that and wave a baguette, it doesn't make the baguette an offensive weapon.



it is deemed an offensive weapon. It is therefore meant to be carried in a covered bag or even a hockey stick type bag. Police can be quite strict about it.

Does it actually say in the police rule book that a fencing foil is an offensive weapon? I am willing to stand corrected if so. i just wonder whether policemen are overreacting because they see something vaguely sword shaped and expect the worse. Without taking teh trouble to find out if it could actually hurt anyone.

(A copper occasionally comes to my club - next time I see him I'll ask.)

alec frenzy
-15th November 2003, 17:38
In the UK, the short answer is no. Unless you are using your foil in a violent way in public or threatening violence

An offensive weapon can be

1 Made for causing injury - this means there principal purpose is to cause injury whereas a foil's principal purpose is sport

2. Adapted for causing injury - nothing has been adapted so unless you sharpen the end you are ok

3. Used in an offensive manner - if you start attacking someone by hitting them over the head with your epee then you may be in trouble

It is also an offensive to have a bladed article in a public place. BUT a blade means a sharpened edge which a foil does not have.

However I wouln't recommend carrying it openly as it can attract trouble makers especially in Glasgow ;)

sharkey
-15th November 2003, 21:48
Thanks for all your comments so far

Firstly, to clear up a few things:

I've tried to direct future replies to this thread, having initially started the thread here and in the university fencing forum
(by accident)

Secondly, the relevant legislation appears to be s(1)(4) of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 which defines an“offensive weapon” as:

"any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him [or by some other person]."

This appears to break down into:

[1] an article MADE for causing injury : classic example : butterfly knife; flick knife, samurai swords - blatantly offensive weapons if carried in public [but NOT a foil, or a baseball bat, or a dive knife since these are designed for another purpose - though see [3] below]

[2] an article ADAPTED for causing injury : e.g. a piece of wood with a nail through it at one end; a sharpened (or snapped) fencing foil; even a raw potato with razor blades set into it [it is the article's adaptation that would bring it within the second strand of the s(1)(4) definition]

[3] an article INTENDED to be used to cause injury by the person having it [or by some other person]
[arguably a foil brandished with intent to cause injury comes within this definition]

So, it would seem that all that prevents some of the articles listed in [1] above from being seen by the police as offensive weapons when carried in a public place [i.e. coming within [3] above] is the INTENTION of the person possessing them.

I take randomsabreur's point about kit bags. If a person intended to use a foil as an offensive weapon (say, by whipping someone with it - which could cause GBH or even worse), whether the foil was in their hand or in a posh kit bag at the time they were intercepted by the police would be largely irrelevant; the fact being that it was in their possession in a public place at the material time.

What must be of interest for all fencers is the question of whether, by simply carrying an exposed foil to a class or session, one could inadvertently be setting oneself up for an informal (or perhaps even a formal) caution from a police officer.

Obviously I have no intention of using my foil as an offensive weapon on the way to and from training ; and I believe my intent (to use the foil as a piece of sporting equipment at my local club)would be sufficiently clear to any curious constable if they chose to stop me - and thus sufficient to avoid me getting me into trouble.

Nevertheless, might this be seen as too blase an approach by the police? Since from this it also follows that Mr Pro-Violence, who intended to use his foil in a street fight, could also carry it around with him (intending to brandish it and use it to cause injury) provided he coincided his attempts with the training times of, say, a local community centre's fencing club......

Hope this rekindles the debate; I am quite tempted to post this question to Scotland Yard to get an official perspective on it...
police:

Finally I declare an interest : also a legal trainee
[notes time of this posting on saturday night and shakes head]

PM1
-15th November 2003, 23:47
...you think you're a sad person posting at this time of night : I've just landed back from a legal conference !!I'd like the answer to this conundrum, not just for uncovered weapons, but for the fact of age of carrier........go ask your question. In fact, I'll ask my mate at CPS.........a good excuse for meeting up for a pint if ever there was one!!:grin:

Aoife
-16th November 2003, 18:07
I always assumed that as foils (in particular case, a dry foil) had been designed so as NOT to cause harm (no sharp edges, button on the end) and so unless you were running down the street chasing sobody with it screaming 'Die, die! Mwahaahaa!' (or otherwise using it in a threatening manner) then you're okay. I got my sword about a month before my kit bag, so a few times I carried my sword in my hand to and from school (holding it upright, by about the middle of the blade, so in a non-treatening way) and I got no trouble from passing police cars. My lawyer mother groaned a little, but decided it was probably legally okay.

Muso440
-16th November 2003, 20:42
Originally posted by Aoife
I got my sword about a month before my kit bag, so a few times I carried my sword in my hand to and from school (holding it upright, by about the middle of the blade, so in a non-treatening way) and I got no trouble from passing police cars.

The cool thing about carrying your foil about like this (to and from leisure centre car park, in my case) is that small children go 'hey, woah, she's carrying a SWORD!!!!!' in an amazed voice as you pass them. Maybe they'll therefore pester their parents to find the sword-club for them too.

Boo Boo
-16th November 2003, 21:16
I regularly (once/twice a week) have lessons in my lunch hour (from work).

Rather that dragging my wheelie bag (and all the rubbish in it) to work and then to the sports hall for my lesson, I carry the foil in a thick piece of, blade length, polystirene pipe insulation. So the blade is completely covered, but the guard and handle stick out of the top. I then carry my mask, glove and fencing shoes (and sports kit...) in a rack sack.

The offices where I work are right next to the city police station. Have never had any trouble with the police ( ;) ), just the occassional sarcastic workman.... :(

I wouldn't want to carry an exposed foil, because I don't want to look completely wierd (ok, more than I already do... :) ) and I think that it would draw unwanted attention and stupid comments....

Boo

Australian
-16th November 2003, 21:16
as far as i know in australia, they are counted as blades, and cos they are over the whatever length it is, then have to be covered in public

hokers
-17th November 2003, 09:40
I seem to recall someone telling me a long time ago that you couldnt wear it on the hip, like in a scabbard or something like that either.

srb
-17th November 2003, 09:55
I thought it was the same as Australian has said, that it was okay as long as the blade was covered. I used to travel up to London regularly with a foil with the blade covered just by pushing the blade down the insides of a tie, and I never had any problems. I've now graduated to some hosepipe.

srb

ceprab
-17th November 2003, 10:26
I know our coach didn't much like the transport of (one of our members) to the club when it consisted of unicycling along holding an epee straight up in the air......

And I have been argued with by a couple of people for carrying a sword since they thought it wasn't legal (stared at them and kept walking).....

And when wearing a full length cape with the hood up, large boots and carrying a sabre around Nottingham people cross the road some distance in front of you and eye you warily.

Australian
-17th November 2003, 10:30
Originally posted by ceprab
And when wearing a full length cape with the hood up, large boots and carrying a sabre around Nottingham people cross the road some distance in front of you and eye you warily.

not Live Action RolePlay i hope

*shudders*

alec frenzy
-17th November 2003, 10:44
Just because we call it a blade, it does not make it a blade - it does not have a sharpened edge.

If it was a blade, it would be irrelevant whether it was covered or not as it as an offence to have a bladed article in a public place (whether in a bag, down your trousers or in a scabbard!)

For the same reasons it is also irrelevant whether a foil (epee, or sabre) is covered or uncovered as it is NOT an offensive weapon or bladed article.

It could only become one if you sharpened the edge or point OR if it was used or intended to be used in an offensive manner, and then it wouldn't matter if your hosepipe was wrapped around it or not.

This applies in the UK only, in Australia I believe they have a special dispensation for having consumed a few schooners of VB :)

Boo Boo
-17th November 2003, 10:52
Originally posted by ceprab
And when wearing a full length cape with the hood up, large boots and carrying a sabre around Nottingham people cross the road some distance in front of you and eye you warily.

I can't imagine why... :rolleyes:

Boo
(imagining that this would fit into Haggis'/Gav's category of "wierdy beardy"...)

katie
-17th November 2003, 11:31
I would be more concerned about attracting unwanted attention from groups of trouble makers possibly forcing you to have to defend yourself for real (hitting someone with a big sabre even in self-defence might be legally "interesting").

Maybe I'm over-cautious....

Katie.

Boo Boo
-17th November 2003, 11:37
In the past, people have said things like "having a sword/foil must be great for self defense". To which my normal reply is "not at all. If someone tried to attack me, I would just run away like h*ll..."

The best way to get out of trouble, is to avoid it in the first place...

Boo
(who agrees that attracting attention is not a good idea...)

srb
-17th November 2003, 11:50
Had a very strange encounter when I was younger.

I was travelling back from a competition on the train with a friend. I was 16 and my friend was 14, and he had won whatever the U14 competition was. So we were on a train, it was after 12 o'clock at night, and we were carrying lots of fencing foils, and a nice shiny expensive looking trophy.

At the next stop a load of football fans got on returning from an away game. Lets say they were fairly boisterous, and they then proceeded to destroy the carriage we were in. The bizarre thing was we were sitting in the middle of the chaos and they left us completely alone.

When I say they left us alone, they had a look at the trophy, had a look at the foils - they were genuinely interested, and then went off and destroyed the place around us.

We got off at Waterloo safe and sound (albeit a little bit lighter). That has been the only time that I have been concerned about attracting unwanted attention.

srb

alec frenzy
-17th November 2003, 14:47
Agreed about the not attracting attention thing, absolutely, covering your sabre is a sensible thing.

The self-defence question - if you are carrying your sabre (and it is not an offensive weapon as discussed in previous posts), and you are subject to violence or in fear of immediate violence, you may use reasonable force in self defence.

The force used in your defence must be proportionate to the attack or perceived attack. (mind you you would be better off using your high heel stilletto heels given the limited use in that situation of a sabre/foil/epee).

The law also suggests that if you can run away you should, and retaliation is a BIG NO NO.

So in answer to Katies question, YES, with provisos.

Jambo
-17th November 2003, 15:31
Originally posted by alec frenzy
The law also suggests that if you can run away you should

This issue winds me up, especially the above. If someone threatens/attacks me or my friends I believe they are responsible for anything that might ensue. Say someone tries to mug you, I do not believe it is unreasonable to batter the living daylights out of them (to put it bluntly, though i do NOT mean jumping up and down on them while they're on the floor or other such antics). Why should you have to run away? If you are a martial arts expert/boxer/hardnut (I'm none of the above!) then its just their unlucky day if they try and pick on you.

alec frenzy
-17th November 2003, 15:59
That may be your personal opinion, but the law says otherwise.

In Scotland you must run away if you can, in England & Wales it is just one of the issues which helps decide whether your actions were reasonable.

Actually my personal opinion is that running away is a good thing, even if you are a "martial arts expert/boxer/hardnut", because all it takes is one 12 year old with a knife up his sleeve, one stab, and its goodnight vienna... ...this happens all too often.

Jambo
-17th November 2003, 16:27
I agree. And I avoid fights if at all possible. I just dont like the idea that I have to run away otherwise I might be prosecuted. I'm not saying I wouldnt run if I could. In these times you might be lucky if it was just a knife.

I've always found that even people looking for a fight will go away if you don't react to them and stay polite and friendly despite provocation.

bufc99
-18th November 2003, 15:46
I have had experience in one of these things, the carrying foil in public and someone attempting to mug me whilst i was carrying my fencing kit.

I was stopped by the police once on my wayto a training session for supposedly carrying an offensive weapon (my foil). I had it in a bit of plastic tube as I didn't have a kit bag then but one of them wanted to know what it was so I told him sports equipment, a fencing foil. The only way I eventually got him to leave me alone was to give it to him and get himn to stab me with it. He eventually agreed that I could carry it but gave me an informal warning not to do so in future if i could help it.

Someone has attempted to mug me when i didn't have my kit with me but since I have bad knees I can't exactly run very fast so they could easily have caught me again. Unluckily for the mugger I know a few martial arts and they weren't standing for very long. However, saying that, if possible I urge you to run away as it's safer for you and if they then try to prosecute you for kciking the **** out of them it can be hard to prove that they were trying to mug you.

I know i'll sound like a broken record by this point but, if possible avoid confrontation by running.

Aoife
-19th November 2003, 09:23
I did karate for years when I was younger, did well in a few comps and stuff, but we were always always taught to run if you possibly could (whilst making a lot of noise... preferably yelling 'Fire!' as it's the only emergancy people come out of their houses to watch :) )

((it might not be to smart to yell 'Fire!' if the mugger has a gun however :rolleyes: ))



Carrying my sword didn't get me too much attention, just the occasional odd look- I get odder looks wandering about in my breeches (especially when I once/twice/okay a few times went home in breeches and.... knee length boots. It was cold!!! :grin: )

Gav
-19th November 2003, 09:34
Originally posted by Aoife
Carrying my sword didn't get me too much attention, just the occasional odd look- I get odder looks wandering about in my breeches (especially when I once/twice/okay a few times went home in breeches and.... knee length boots. It was cold!!! :grin: )

In a sad but true moment I turned up at a pub once in my breeches (the changing rooms at a local university event had closed). I got the mic taken out of me all night - even after I got changed.

bufc99
-19th November 2003, 11:34
I often get odd looks in the guild after training, wehn I turn up in breeches and bright stripy socks. THey are our AU colours, red, gold and blue in horizontal stripes all the way down.

ceprab
-19th November 2003, 11:39
Originally posted by bufc99
I often get odd looks in the guild after training, wehn I turn up in breeches and bright stripy socks. THey are our AU colours, red, gold and blue in horizontal stripes all the way down.

How very Harry-Potter-sounding!

Saxon
-20th November 2003, 11:58
Originally posted by Australian
not Live Action RolePlay i hope

*shudders*

Used to have the good people of Nottingham quite well trained to ignore LARP costume and weapons - once the police got used to us, it all went a lot more smoothly...

:knight:

ceprab
-20th November 2003, 14:26
It wasn't larp anyway. The difference between his normal dress and what he was wereing that evening was his wearing trousers instead of a skirt....... goth.

xcr
-21st November 2003, 18:59
Ive neer had odd looks for walking aroud with my foil (and when in a kit-bag most people think I hae a celo or gitar). Under Canadian Law I assume it is legal to carry a foil, as it should not be considered a bladed weapon, and otherwise should only be illegal if used as a weapon (in a way no diffrent from a basball bat, which of corse would attrack no odd looks). When liing in univercity residence a couple years ago I did once neglect to lock my door, and have to reclaim my foil from a drunk student in the hall. from that point on I always locked my door.

bufc99
-24th November 2003, 15:30
For all who want to see our harry potter socks, here is a picture of them.

Stripey socks (http://students.bugs.bham.ac.uk/fencing/images/socks.jpg)

I can't remember who is wearing them in this photo, but for all of you in the BUSA Midlands league then you'll have seen them already as we get our teams to wear them.

Aoife
-25th November 2003, 20:43
Nice! Very funky... perhaps a little distracting, I might find myself staring at your shins a lot during bouts :)

HSD
-1st December 2003, 07:57
Felt the urge to wade in with some low level trolling here ;-)

My understanding of the law is that exceptions are given to "tools of trade" (ie screwdrivers, saws, etc) and sports equipment, provided you are on the way to a job / sporting event, and are carrying the equipment in a suitable manner. By way of anecdotal evidence in support of this view, I have been stopped by the police (when I was 14 or 15 or so), because I was carrying a softball bat to a (nameless, to protect the guilty) youth organisation's sports evening. Anyway, after questioning me as to why exactly I needed to be carrying an offensive weapon around they let me go on my merry way. The caveat to that little tale is the story of the man who was shot by the police for the offense of brandishing an offensive table leg in public -- he wasn't exactly waving it around either... he just _looked_ threatening.

Oh well, that's me done. Maybe I'll troll some more in a monthor two ;-).

Moose
-2nd December 2003, 04:25
This all reminds me of an incident that happend a couple of years back to one of the guys I do Viking reenactment with. He was walking home from training, still mostly in his armour and carrying a dane axe, for those who have not seen one they are about 5-6 feet long with a blunt blade on one side and normally a flat edge on the back of the axehead. Well as he was walking home two young gentlemen of the evening (yobs) decided that he looked like the PERFECT target for a mugging :confused: The intelligence of these people astounds me...

Anyhow they demanded his wallet, while he suggested to the pair that they might want to rethink their plan lest they get friendly with his axe, I think the exact phrase was "go away or I'll hit you with this axe", however our inept duo decided to press their superiority in numbers (if not in mental abilities) by trying to hit him. So he lowered the axe and clobbered one of em in the side of the knee with the back of the axe. Youth number one discovers why gravity and dislocated knee are a bad combination and promtly falls flat on his face. Youth number two, finally finding the brain that has hidden from him all through this encounter decides to change tack and say "please don't hurt my friend any more" he obliges and carrys on walking home. The moral of the story, if you're the kind of ******* who thinks mugging is a good thing, then dont try it against someone dressed as a viking carrying a big axe :grin:

ChiefyMacT
-10th January 2004, 08:50
Originally posted by Saxon
Used to have the good people of Nottingham quite well trained to ignore LARP costume and weapons - once the police got used to us, it all went a lot more smoothly...

:knight:

Currently it largely depends on how clued up your local police force is. Currently my only experience of being ... ahem... armed in public is with LARP swords.

For instance in Burnley I've been personaly on the receiving end of a police armed response unit for carrying a LARP weapon ten metres from car to warehouse site. This was a less than fun experience but happened a lot at that site because up there the police don't take any chances.

In Derby we had a police liason officer and as soon as we told him what we were all about and where stuff would be happening (be it swords or guns) we never had any trouble again, in fact my favourite trick was getting a bored policeman to help me terrify other players.

Sorry, I'm rambling way off topic.

As I say, It's all down to your local force how stringently they want to enforce the law, put it simply, talk to your them.

Don't forget a man was shot for pointing a table leg at an ARU.

plewis66
-11th January 2004, 11:19
A couple of people have said things like 'oh come on, you couldn't hurt someone with a foil', and 'a foil/epee/sabre would be no use in self defence'.

Hmm.

Imagine this. (Don't actually do this, it would be very foolish.)

Approach a volunteer, raise your arm bearing a foil, say, above and behind your head. Forget fencing, it's just a metal rod. With as much speed as you can muster swipe the edge of the rod across their face or neck.

Extremely severe injury, and possibly death would result.

Sport swords are dangerous items, offensive weapon or no. It's worth remembering.

ceprab
-12th January 2004, 10:40
You can also hurt someone with a teaspoon if you try hard enough. The fact that you *can* hurt someone with something if you go nuts doesn't mean that the object is designed for hurting someone. Skateboards are regularly seen about towns. Suppose you pick one of those up and swing it vigorously at someone's head....:( .

Besides, either of these cases comes under the 'item carried with intent to cause harm' definition of offensive weapon.

edit: I couldn't stand the missing apostrophe on the original post.

plewis66
-12th January 2004, 10:51
Absolutely agree. My point was not that swords are especially dangerous when used as they should be, nor that they are more dangerous than many other everyday items when abused.

Nor was my contention that (sport) swords are designed to harm. In fact the opposite is true.

My point was that people seemed to think it would not be possible to cause harm with a sport sword, and that this was not the case.

My concern is that if people do not see the harm that can be caused by an item, then they may not treat the item withe care due. I am not implying that anyone here wuold do that, either, but wanted to just point out that when you are carrying a sword, you have a duty of care.

This should be extended to when carrying them outside the Salle, also. The situation I described is one that could easily arrise should a bunch of hooligans decide to nick a sword off you that you are carrying openly down the street. Such behaviour by said hooligan would be encouraged by the fact that the item is clearly a sword. Should the same person nick a spoon, they are less likely to be inclined to hit someone with it. And hooligans don't know anything about point in line. To most people, the way to attack with a sword is just as I described.

DrT
-12th January 2004, 11:32
Originally posted by plewis66
Imagine this. (Don't actually do this, it would be very foolish.)

Approach a volunteer, raise your arm bearing a foil, say, above and behind your head. Forget fencing, it's just a metal rod. With as much speed as you can muster swipe the edge of the rod across their face or neck.

Extremely severe injury, and possibly death would result.


Just another day for the average sabreur! :tongue:

Rdb811
-12th January 2004, 22:45
A packet of Polos makes a good weapon.

plewis66
-13th January 2004, 08:01
Very true. A decent makeshift kubotan.

My style was a bit more hardcore. The pattern yuo had to learn for one of the higher grades was called 'Pencil Form'.

Moose
-14th January 2004, 00:25
Originally posted by DrT
Just another day for the average sabreur! :tongue:

I resemble that remark! :grin:

Rdb811
-14th January 2004, 00:52
Doesn't that resemble one of your earlier posts ?

Moose
-14th January 2004, 03:47
Lol, probably. Head not screwed on right, but then they let me use a sabre so it would be wrong if it was :grin:

HSD
-15th January 2004, 15:16
Originally posted by ceprab
You can also hurt someone with a teaspoon if you try hard enough. The fact that you *can* hurt someone with something if you go nuts doesn't mean that the object is designed for hurting someone. Skateboards are regularly seen about towns. Suppose you pick one of those up and swing it vigorously at someone's head....:( .

Besides, either of these cases comes under the 'item carried with intent to cause harm' definition of offensive weapon.


In order to fully comply with teh law, tools of trade, and sporting equipment are supposed to be carried discretely (ie in a suitable box or bag). For example, my armoury toolkit looks (to the casual observer) like the kind of bag carried by students the world over. At the very least weapons should have their blades covered, and transported infront of you, in one hand (just below the guard), point down, because this posture presents the least offensive profile (especially on dark winter nights), and the smallest opportunity for someone to come to mischeif with the business end of the weapon -- including you.

Moose
-15th January 2004, 16:07
Before I had my bag I used to carry my sabre in more or less the pose suggested by HSD, blade covered with hard plastic conduit and I held it by the top of the conduit to make sure it didnt fall out.

I used to take it on the bus and everything and never had any problems cos of it.

ChiefyMacT
-20th January 2004, 16:40
Originally posted by Moose

I used to take it on the bus and everything and never had any problems cos of it.

Lucky you, as I mentioned in passing before, my weapon carried the same way ended up with me on the receiving end of 5 policemen with MP5's one with a somethingorother pistol and two dog handlers.

It is lucky I wasn't doing fencing at the time, white would not of been a good colour for me to be wearing that day,lol.

Captain Max
-16th June 2004, 14:47
>Even with their spring-tipped points, even a foil would appear to >come within the definition of an offensive weapon since it could >be an article capable of causing injury to the person.

Not true. Lots of things are 'capable' of injuring people; a screwdriver for example may make a practicle weapon. The fact that it is intended to injury makes an object an offensive weapon.

Therefore carrying a foil would not constitute this offence. However, attacking someone with a foil be one of several offences under the Offences Against the Person Act, and even using one in a threatening manner may be assault.

There is an old case where someone was found guilty of assault for putting their hands on a sword as if to draw it, but obviously this was a real sword.

Neo
-11th October 2004, 01:36
Originally posted by sharkey
I've done a bit of fencing at Uni where I was always told to keep my foil in a kit bag when in public. I wondered if anyone could answer me this question:

Are those people who have carry their epee / foil /sabre in public view (ie not in a bag) currently breaking the law?

Bear in mind that, in legal terms:

An 'Offensive weapon' is defined as "any article made OR ADAPTED for causing injury to the person". This obviously includes instruments with a blade or a sharp point.

Even with their spring-tipped points, even a foil would appear to come within the definition of an offensive weapon since it could be an article capable of causing injury to the person.

The problem with what you've quoted is that it doesn't cover intention - basically anything can be an offensive weapon if its so used or designed to be such (think car keys for instance!). What would be more relevant is possession of an article of blade or point - this doesn't require it to be offensive - merely to have a blade or point. Whether a fencing weapon does or doesn't meet this criteria is something of an academic argument as there's no case law on this point as far as I know. I'd suspect that if the police wanted to be arsey about it, they could charge u with it, but whether the CPS would prosecute (or indeed whether it would get past half time) is another argument altogether.