Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (June 28, 2007) – An Ontario Court of Justice ruled favorably on behalf of a retailer defendant cited for selling banned “weapons” when he sold assisted-opening knives from Kershaw and others.
In this Canadian case, Justice D. J. Halikowski states, in part,
“The case law is this area is well settled. A knife being an instrument that is universally used for utilitarian, peaceful purposes, is not prima facie designed to be used as a weapon notwithstanding that a knife, like a multitude of other things such as baseball bats, hatchets, or ice picks, can on occasion be used effectively in fighting aggressively or defensively.”
And this …
“When interpreting the governing legislation in cases where a citizen’s liberty or property may be jeopardized by state intervention, a strict and ordinary reading and interpretation of that legislation is necessary to ensure that the public can understand and predict with a high degree of certainty what is expected of it in the conduct of its day-to-day personal and business affairs.”
Finally, in declaring that the assisted openers were wrongly seized, the judge states they … “can be described as knives which can be opened with one hand by applying pressure with one’s thumb or finger onto a metal stud located on or integral to the blade. Once this pressure moves the blade into a position about 20 degrees from the handle, a spring device accelerates the blade forward until it locks in the open position. Again, the question remains as to whether or not this means of opening the device falls within the prohibitive definition under s. 84 (1) of the Code.”
“The Court finds that it does not. On an ordinary reading of the legislation the blade does not open automatically by gravity or centrifugal force. Hand pressure is applied to a device on or integral to the blade. Hand pressure is not applied to a device in the handle or on it. Nor is pressure applied to a spring. If anything, pressure is released from the spring in these devices once it is operated. The legislation as presently in force and restrictively interpreted does not prohibit the possession of these devices.”
Judgment rendered on June 28, 2007, at Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.