Keyring weapon offender freed on appeal at Leeds Crown Court

A man jailed for having a keyring deemed to be an offensive weapon has been released following an appeal.
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David Finn was jailed after the small, two-finger brass knuckleduster was found in his pocket by police while being arrested.

It was the second time he had been charged with a similar offence, meaning he was given a mandatory six months’ jail.

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He also admitted assaulting three officers during the incident, so was given a total of nine months’ jail at Leeds Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

Leeds Crown CourtLeeds Crown Court
Leeds Crown Court

But the 44-year-old former forklift truck driver appealed and appeared at Leeds Crown Court this week via video link from HMP Leeds.

Outlining the case for the Crown, Zarreen Alam-Cheetham said police were called to Old Crown Road in Wakefield in the early hours of June 14 to reports of criminal damage.

Heavily in drink and struggling, he was taken to the ground and searched, where officers found the weapon in his pocket.

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Finn, of Old Crown Road, has 22 convictions, including the previous offensive weapon offence from March 1996 when he was caught carrying a metal tube.

Mitigating, Eleanor Durdy told the court that the previous offence was more than 26 years ago, his last conviction was 2009 and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

She also said the knuckleduster was from a keyring and added: “The knuckleduster was not produced at any point and no risk was posed.”

Ms Durdy said that Finn had been attacked in the street moments before the police arrived and felt like he was the victim, resulting in his hostile reaction towards the officers when put in handcuffs.

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Following a discussion with an appeal panel, the judge, Recorder Patrick Palmer said: “The last time he was convicted of possession of an offensive weapon was more than quarter of a century ago and has kept out of trouble for some 13 years.

"It would be unjust to impose the minimum term but he was well aware it was an offensive weapon no matter how small it was, so it does cross the custody threshold.”

He reduced Finn’s overall sentence from nine months to six months, but suspended it, meaning he would be freed immediately.

He was also given 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to engage in a six-month alcohol-treatment programme.