Tin can man Christopher Ewell not guilty of having offensive weapon in public
Christopher Ewell on his
A jury delivered swift justice when they decided in just 13
minutes that a Sittingbourne fundraiser known as the Tin Can Man
was not guilty of having an offensive weapon in public.
The trial of 57-year-old Christopher Ewell had only started four
hours earlier at Maidstone Crown Court.
Mr Ewell, who goes around the town on a three-wheeled bike
collecting empty cans, was alleged to have brandished a rusty
sickle at fair owner James Manning during a confrontation in
But Mr Ewell, of Cherry Close, Murston, later told police it was
simply a gardening tool he had found among scrap.
He said he had had it for about a month and intended to use it
to cut his grass, but it was always buried beneath the cans on his
denied possession of a bladed article. The jury was told at the
start of the trial that they would have to simply decide whether or
not he was in possession of it lawfully.
Prosecutor John O'Higgins told the jury that Mr Manning had
permission from the council to put up posters advertising his
travelling fair, but believed Mr Ewell had been taking them
There was a confrontation between the two men in the street on
June 15 and it was alleged that Mr Ewell pulled the sickle from the
back of his bike.
The weapon, which had a 22in blade, was passed around the
"It was not new and pretty rusty on the blade," continued Mr
O'Higgins, "and the blade on it was not of the sharpest kind.
"But equally, if confronted with that in the street it might not
be the most pleasant of experiences and you may think it is an item
capable of causing some harm."
The prosecution alleged that Mr Ewell's explanation for having
the sickle "did not amount to good reason".
"He confirmed he had been carrying it around on his bike for a
month," explained Mr O'Higgins. "But that is what you are not
allowed to do."
The jury retired to deliberate at 3.37pm and reached their
verdict by 3.50pm.
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