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A 22-year-old with severe back pain wound up in court after being caught with a knife in a children’s play park.
Aidas Berzinskas, of Kings Green in Fairstead, appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court last Thursday charged with possession of a blade in a public place, as well as possession of cannabis.
He pleaded guilty to both offences, which he committed on July 12 last year.
Crown prosecutor Colette Harper said that on that date, police received reports from a member of the public who was concerned by two males who were “acting suspiciously” in a play park on Fred Ackland Drive.
Upon arriving at the park, officers found Berzinskas among the pair – and located 22g of cannabis and a locking stanley knife in his possesion.
They noticed that he was in “a considerable amount of pain”, and the defendant proceeded to show them a large scar on his back from a recent operation. He was visibly shaking at the time.
He then told police he had the knife because he had been carving wood in a woodland area close by in order to keep himself occupied while he was out of work because of his injury.
However, he was still arrested and charged with the offences.
Magistrates’ sentencing guidelines meant Berzinskas could have potentially faced a spell in prison, but they deemed his offences to be more in line with a community-based punishment.
However, due to his current situation, they decided to fine him £200 for possession of the knife instead, as well as £80 for possession of Class B drugs.
He will also pay a £100 victim surcharge and £145 in legal costs, while an order was made for the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and knife.
Mitigating, solicitor Charlotte Winchester said: “He was with a friend, he was smoking cannabis and he used the cannabis to relieve the terrible pain he got from his injury.
“He was fully compliant with police. He was unaware that the knife was in his rucksack – usually he would have kept it in a toolbox, but forgot to put it back.”
Ms Winchester said Berzinskas is a former student of mechanics and engineering at the College of West Anglia in Lynn, but suffered from a prolapsed disc in his back three years ago.
He had surgery and lived a “relatively normal life” in 2022, but at the beginning of last year his back pain returned. He still attends physio sessions and remains in “extreme pain”.
“He is a young person who is absolutely desperate to get back to work,” the solicitor added.
“He knows it (cannabis) is illegal, but it seems to help more than the numerous medications prescribed to him.
“He is well aware of the seriousness of the knife offence.”