Graham Morrison is an ordinary, law-abiding 30-something Scotsman who happens to like knives. Last January he bought a few ornamental knives (not pictured) from his brother, to hang them on his wall. He was arrested at a bus stop on the way home from his brother’s house, because he had the carefully-wrapped knives inside his jacket. Along with the special wall plaque to display them on.
Morrison spent three days in jail before being released on bail, and was charged with ‘Carrying Knives Without A Reasonable Excuse.’ The charge carried up to two years imprisonment, but a jury of his peers unanimously acquitted him.
Even in the emasculated world of the UK legal system, the decision to prosecute Morrison has been sharply criticized, and not just by (nonexistent) knife rights advocates. In fact a vocal critic of the Crown prosecution was none other than the Sheriff of Kilmarnock herself. Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane expressed doubt over “whether this case should have been prosecuted in the first place.”
“But”, she added: “nobody asks me these things.”
The law gone insane, and prosecutors gone amok. This isn’t the only example: American tourists have been arrested as well. Yanks are usually released with a warning (and without their pocketknife) but locals face stiff penalties for ‘crimes’ as nonexistent as carrying your new steak knives home from the store where you bought them.
If you were being charitable to the insane U.K. knife laws, I guess one bit of advice from this fiasco would be ‘save your receipts’ if you’ve just bought a knife, but even that didn’t help Morrison. He told the coppers he’d just bought the knives from his brother that day, but they never bothered to call the brother to confirm this.
“They were inside my jacket wrapped up in two plastic bags. I told the police they could call my brother to verify this and they actually spoke to him on the phone. But they still arrested me and what’s even worse is they never bothered taking a statement from him.”
The fact that Morrison was (rightly) acquitted doesn’t mean that all is right with the world. An injustice was done, even though a greater injustice was averted by the common sense of the jury. After the verdict was read, Morrison collapsed on the way home from court and was briefly hospitalized for observation before being sent home to rest.
Morrison spoke out about his ordeal afterward: “I’m a 35-year-old man and I think I know when it’s safe enough to carry something wrapped inside my jacket. I could have been looking at two years in prison for something I wasn’t even guilty of. This was hanging over me for nine months and it’s left me with so much stress.”
Don’t think this can’t happen here.
Read the full story at BBC.com.