23/04/24

Zombie Knife | Offensive Weapons

Zombie Knife | Offensive Weapons
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A Zombie Knife, also known as a ‘Zombie Killer’ or a ‘Zombie Slayer Knife’ is defined within section 141 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 as being a blade with:

  • a cutting edge,
  • a serrated edge and
  • images or words (whether on the blade or handle) that suggest that it is to be used for the purposes of violence.

In a previous article, we explained that whilst possession of a Zombie Knife had been made illegal in 2016, sales continued. Even with the increase in sales retailers avoided breaking legal restrictions by removing any images or words, being the third requirement of the statutory definition.

The first two requirements of the definition are clear and uncontroversial, but the third one has attracted judicial attention in the recent Case of T – V – CPS [2024] EWHC 470 (Admin).

Mohammed Ahmed of KANGS Solicitors now outlines the findings of this Case.

The Case in Focus: T v CPS [2024] EWHC 470 (Admin)

Following the discovery of a Zombie knife at the home of the defendant, he was charged with possession of a ‘Offensive Weapon’ in a private place.

It was accepted that the weapon:

  • had a cutting edge,
  • a serrated edge,
  • was nine inches long,
  • featured a handle which could be unscrewed to reveal a compass, fishing line and a match, and
  • displayed the engraved words ‘Rambo First Blood Part 1’.

However, the Defendant disputed that it was a Zombie Knife, simply because it displayed words containing the reference to ‘Rambo’ arguing that it was not Parliament’s intent to criminalise possession of memorabilia.

The District Judge ruled in favour of the Prosecution finding that the engraved words amounted to more than an obscure reference and that they associated the knife to a violent character in a series of violent films and, therefore, found that it was to be used for the purpose of violence.

An Appeal by the Defendant to the High Court was dismissed and, in the Judgment, it was stated:
‘it matters not if the person in private possession of the knife is merely a “collector” who seeks to display the knife in a cabinet or by some other means and who has no intention of ever using it to commit or threaten violence. If the images or words on the knife in private possession suggest that it is to be used for violence, then the offence is committed.’

Accordingly, this Judgment has clearly criminalised possession of certain offensive weapons at home displaying words indicating threats of violence, even if they are simply regarded as collector’s items.

Potential Defences for Possession

Subject to the construction, design and the lack of offensive wording, a defence may be available for the possession of a weapon where it is:

  • of historical importance,
  • possessed solely for educational purposes,
  • to be used for the theatre, film, or television,
  • possessed for religious purposes.

However, care clearly needs to be taken to ensure that both Statutory and Case Law requirements are observed.

How Can We Help?

The law relating to possession of a Zombie Knife or any form of offensive weapon, including bladed articles, is constantly being tightened given the extent to which they are frequently used in the committal of crime.

If you are facing an Investigation or require advice in relation to any weapon, including bladed articles, that may be of concern, please contact our Team who will be pleased able to advise you.

Simply contact our Team using the information below:

Tel:       0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

We provide an initial no obligation consultation from our offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Alternatively, we provide initial consultations by telephone or video.

Mohammed Ahmed

Mohammed Ahmed
Associate

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Helen Holder

Helen Holder
Partner

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Sukhdip Randhawa

Sukhdip Randhawa
Legal Director

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