Buried in this BBC article is the following paragraph about a girl caught in public possessing a blade which she used to self-harm:
[The girl] later appeared in court accused of possession of a bladed weapon and was found not guilty after magistrates accepted the items were used for self-harming.
This seems to imply that there is a defence to possessing a bladed object that the intention was for self-harm as a reasonable excuse.
However, I find this press report contradictory to this previous report of a sentence by His Honour Judge Jefferies QC who noted his regret that a woman caught with blades for self-harm was 'not really the person [the statute was] aimed at', but nonetheless imposed a sentence on her.
So which is it: is self-harm (where proven or accepted as the intent for carrying the blade) a defence to carrying a bladed object?
For reference, the offence I am referring to is the one in the Criminal Justice Act 1988, s 139. That act provides the following defences to the either-way offence:
(4). It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he had good reason or lawful authority for having the article with him in a 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 this section to prove that he had the article with him— (a)for use at work; (b)for religious reasons; or (c)as part of any national costume.
So the question is: is 'self-harm' a 'good reason'?