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(1)Subject to subsections (4) and (5) below, any person who has an article to which this section applies with him in a public place shall be guilty of an offence and liable—
(a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding [F1twelve] months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both; and
(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding [F2four] years or a fine or both.
(2)Subject to subsection (3) below, this section applies to any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed.
(3)This section does not apply to a folding pocketknife if the cutting edge of its blade does not exceed three inches (7.62 centimetres).
(4)It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1) above to [F3show that the person had a reasonable excuse] or lawful authority for having the article with him in the public place.
(5)Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (4) above, it shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1) above to [F4show] that he had the article with him—
(a)for use at work;
(b)for religious reasons; or
(c)as part of any national costume.
(6)Where a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) above the court may make an order for the forfeiture of any article to which the offence relates, and any article forfeited under this subsection shall (subject to section 193 of the M1Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (suspension of forfeiture etc, pending appeal)) be disposed of as the court may direct.
[F5(7)In this section, “public place” has the same meaning as in section 47(4).]
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