The reverse onus provisions contained in s.139(4) and (5) Criminal Justice Act 1988 were proportionate. They struck a fair balance between the general interest of the community in the realisation of a legitimate aim and the protection of the fundamental rights of the individual.Appeal by the defendant ('M') against his conviction for possession of a bladed knife in a public place on the ground that s.139 Criminal Justice Act 1988 was a reverse burden provision and as such was incompatible with Art.6 European Convention on Human Rights. The issue before the jury had been whether M had had the knife for a good reason. The judge had given the standard direction to the jurors, telling them that it was for M to prove that it was more likely than not that he had had the knife for a good reason. In Lynch v Director of Public Prosecutions (2001) (2002) 3 WLR 863 it was held that although s.139 imposed a persuasive burden on the accused, the provision was not incompatible with Art.6. Leave to appeal to the House of Lords in Lynch was refused. The issues on appeal were: (i) whether s.139(4) and (5) imposed a persuasive or merely evidential burden on the accused; (ii) whether a persuasive burden breached Art.6(2) of the Convention; and (iii) if the provisions were incompatible with Art.6(2), whether they were to be read to the effect that they imposed only an evidential burden.HELD: (1) The plain and ordinary meaning of s.139(4) and (5) of the 1988 Act was that these provisions imposed a persuasive burden on the accused and not merely an evidential burden. (2) The provisions made an inroad into the right conferred by Art.6(2) because the offence of having a bladed weapon in a public place was one involving moral blameworthiness and the defences provided for by s.139(4) and (5) had a direct bearing on the moral blameworthiness of the accused. Only M knew why he had a blade in a public place. There was an objective justification for some derogation from the presumption of innocence. (3) The reverse onus provisions contained in s.139(4) and (5) were proportionate. They struck a fair balance between the general interest of the community in the realisation of a legitimate legislative aim and the protection of the fundamental rights of the individual and went no further than was necessary to accomplish Parliament's objective in protecting the public from the risks posed by individuals having bladed articles in public places without good reason. Sheldrake v Director of Public Prosecutions (2003) EWHC Admin 273 (QB) followed.Appeal dismissed.
 EWCA Crim 813