A homeless man who produced a flick knife and waved it around in front of people at the Warrnambool foreshore has been ordered to do community work.
Paul Smorthwaite, 54, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Monday, November 20, to carrying a controlled weapon without a lawful excuse.
Police received reports from members of the public just after 6.30pm on December 3 last year a man had produced a knife at McGennan car park on the Warrnambool foreshore.
The man was described as having a shaved head, tattoos and a bag across his chest.
At 6.44pm police arrived and found a man with a matching description who appeared to be affected by substances.
They searched his bag and found a flick knife.
Smorthwaite told police he had it for his own protection.
A lawyer submitted Smorthwaite had stayed out of trouble for the past almost 12 months.
At the time he had been living in a tent and was being supported by the Salvation Army, but had lost nearly all his possessions after fire destroyed his tent.
"It was a vulnerable time," she said.
"People were taunting and laughing at him because he was a homeless man.
"He now accepts responsibility. It was a tragedy. He's now remorseful."
Magistrate Gerard Lethbride said Smorthwaite was substance affected and produced a flick knife he was waving around, prompting members of the public to contact police.
He said it was the sort of offending that courts regularly jailed offenders for committing.
The magistrate said Smorthwaite had a significant criminal record including serious offences of violence.
Smorthwaite was warned if he didn't do unpaid community work he would be breached on the order and jailed.
"You've been around the block before. You cannot be armed with a weapon, like a flick knife, no matter what," Mr Lerthbridge warned Smorthwaite.
"To produce it in public makes it become all the more dangerous. You have priors offences for violence and your first step will be back to jail."
Smorthwaite was placed on a six-month corrections order with the condition he complete 60 hours of community work.
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