• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Montreal police ticket veteran bagpiper for carrying traditional knife

Occam

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
2
Points
430
:facepalm:

Original link

Montreal police ticket veteran bagpiper for carrying traditional knife


John Meagher, Montreal Gazette

Published on: November 4, 2016 | Last Updated: November 4, 2016 10:12 AM EDT

Jeff McCarthy might be the closest thing to a professional bagpiper in Montreal. You may have seen him playing the pipes at the downtown Ogilvy store, or occasionally parading through Montreal streets as a member of Canada’s famed Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment.

So the veteran piper was understandably upset on Wednesday afternoon when he was handed a $221 ticket by police for wearing a sgian-dubh (pronounced skin-do), a small knife that is a common accessory for men in traditional Scottish dress.

McCarthy, who was wearing a kilt, was cornered then ticketed by police officers who approached him after they spotted the knife tucked into his kilt hose while McCarthy was taking a break outside Place des Arts during a McGill University convocation ceremony. 

“As I was walking by these three police officers, one of them … asked me, ‘Is that a knife?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely’.

“I started to explain to her what it was and why I wear it. It didn’t take her long to turn around say, ‘This is illegal.’ And I was pretty shocked and surprised because I’ve been playing the pipes for almost 27 years and I’ve never been stopped for carrying a sgian-dubh.”

McCarthy, 48, attempted to explain to police, who were later joined by two STM public security officers, that the knife is strictly Scottish cultural attire and not intended for use as a weapon.

“I explained … that’s it’s part of the costume, it’s not a weapon per se. It’s an accoutrement to what is considered a traditional Highland costume.”

Police were not swayed and confiscated the knife. McCarthy has not yet decided if he will contest the ticket, which amounted to about half his salary that day.

“There is no religious significance to the knife, but there is a cultural significance. I think that needs to be respected,” he said.

The fluently bilingual McCarthy comes from an ethnically diverse family. His father is of Irish and French descent, while his mother is of Jamaican descent.

McCarthy, whose grandmother was Scottish, said he felt his ancestry was being targeted by police.

“It’s sort of like crushing a culture, and it’s disrespecting a culture,” he said. “There are four things on the Montreal flag and one of them is decidedly Scottish (the thistle). You’d think there would be some respect in terms of that.”

McCarthy says there are many law-abiding members of Montreal’s Scottish community who will be surprised to hear of his run-in with the cops.

“My concern is that Scottish people in general are going to be targeted for wearing a sgian-dubh. Certain questions come to mind: Are they going to set up a paddy wagon in front of the Highland Games?

“Are they going to be bring in the task force when they hold the annual St. Andrew’s Ball in a couple of weeks? Let me tell you, there are lot of people there wearing a sgian-dubh.”

McCarthy, a lifelong Montrealer, said the whole affair has left him with a bad taste in his pipes.

It only made matters worse when one of the STM security officers told him he was “dishonouring my unit and dishonouring the (Canadian) forces by behaving the way I was behaving.”

Police chose not to comment on the matter when contacted Thursday.

 

Jarnhamar

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
1,316
Points
1,060
Hot pants police eh?

Canada

The Canadian Criminal Code criminalises the possession of knives which open automatically. Section 84(1) defines "a knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device attached to or in the handle of the knife" as a prohibited weapon.[13] Only persons who have been granted exemption by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police through the Canadian Firearms Program are allowed to possess (but not acquire) prohibited weapons.

If a person is found in unauthorized possession of a prohibited knife by any law enforcement officer, the person is liable to a maximum of 5 years in jail and the weapon being seized. The Crown can then apply to a Provincial Court judge for the weapon to be forfeited and destroyed. The import and export of prohibited weapons is also strictly regulated and enforced by the Canada Border Services Agency.[14]

Examples of prohibited knives include:

    any knife, including a switchblade, or butterfly knife with a blade that opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife;
    Constant Companion (belt-buckle knife);
    finger rings with blades or other sharp objects projecting from the surface;
    push daggers.[13][15]

Manually-opened or 'one-handed' opening knives, including spring-assisted knives, that do not fall within the categories listed as prohibited weapons definition are legal to own, import and use.[16]

There is no length restriction on carrying knives within the Criminal Code, but there is a prohibition against carrying a knife if the possessor intends to carry for a purpose dangerous to public peace or for the purpose of committing a criminal offense.[17]

Buddy should fight it because that knife doesn't sound prohibited to me.

 

mariomike

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
381
Points
1,130
Jarnhamar said:
Buddy should fight it because that knife doesn't sound prohibited to me.

Four pages on that,

Question on legal knife length in Canada 
http://army.ca/forums/threads/103806.75
 

GR66

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
335
Points
1,010
Jarnhamar said:
Hot pants police eh?

Buddy should fight it because that knife doesn't sound prohibited to me.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't sound like he was charged with a Criminal Code offence but issued a ticket.  Did a (very) little searching and found reference to a City of Montreal Bylaw regarding knives:


1.  In this by-law, "public place" means a place to which the public has access by express or tacit invitation.

2.  No person carrying or having in his possession a knife, sword, machete or other similar weapon, without a reasonable excuse, may be in a public place, street, park, public square, on foot or in a transit vehicle.
        For the purposes of this article, self-defence does not constitute a reasonable excuse.

3.  Any person who contravenes this by-law is guilty of an offence and is liable: (1) for a first offence, to a fine of $150 to $300; (2) for a second offence, to a fine of $300 to $500; (3) for a subsequent offence, to a fine of $500 to $1000.


As a piper invited to perform at an official function as a piper in traditional scottish dress I'd certainly say he has grounds to argue that he has a "reasonable excuse" for carrying the knife.
 

Blackadder1916

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
465
Points
1,030
GR66 said:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't sound like he was charged with a Criminal Code offence but issued a ticket.  Did a (very) little searching and found reference to a City of Montreal Bylaw regarding knives:

You beat me to posting the by-law that he was ticketed for.

One of the consequences of expressing an opinion based solely on incomplete information gleaned from a single source is that the opinion is flawed.  Several other stories about the same incident were more comprehensive in their reporting such as the CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-bagpiper-fined-220-for-carrying-traditional-knife-1.3835762
. . .
McCarthy was ticketed under a municipal bylaw that prohibits anyone from carrying a knife or "similar weapon" in a public place or transit vehicle "without a reasonable excuse."
. . .

I agree that he would likely be able to offer a "reasonable excuse", however by a strict reading of the by-law, I have also been guilty of the same offence in that, while visiting Montreal, I was in a public place and attached to my key ring was a Swiss Army pen knife (that had been so attached since 1979).
 

ModlrMike

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
567
Points
960
Blackadder1916 said:
You beat me to posting the by-law that he was ticketed for.

One of the consequences of expressing an opinion based solely on incomplete information gleaned from a single source is that the opinion is flawed.  Several other stories about the same incident were more comprehensive in their reporting such as the CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-bagpiper-fined-220-for-carrying-traditional-knife-1.3835762
I agree that he would likely be able to offer a "reasonable excuse", however by a strict reading of the by-law, I have also been guilty of the same offence in that, while visiting Montreal, I was in a public place and attached to my key ring was a Swiss Army pen knife (that had been so attached since 1979).

I would also argue that the bylaw is overly broad, in that it relies on the officer to determine what a "reasonable excuse" is. A far too subjective determination for my liking. I may be wrong, but I seem to recall similar provisions being struck down in the past.
 

Jarnhamar

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
1,316
Points
1,060
Like I said the knife isn't considered prohibited and reading the bylaw,  ambiguous as it sounds,  I'd say he can fight the ticket on the grounds that he falls under the reasonable excuse category.
 

dapaterson

Army.ca Relic
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
2,380
Points
890
So, Scots with a skean dhu = OK and part of their culture.  Are we equally understanding for Sikhs and a kirpan?
 
J

jollyjacktar

Guest
dapaterson said:
So, Scots with a skean dhu = OK and part of their culture.  Are we equally understanding for Sikhs and a kirpan?
I'm cool with it as long as it's not used as a weapon.

 

kratz

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
39
Points
630
dapaterson said:
So, Scots with a skean dhu = OK and part of their culture.  Are we equally understanding for Sikhs and a kirpan?

Thank you. I had the same thought. Make it a 'religious' item and it is exempt?
 

Jarnhamar

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
1,316
Points
1,060
recceguy said:
It already is a weapon, decorative surely, but still a weapon.

No disagreement here. Logically it's silly to ban an item in the context of safety yet make it legal for religious or culture reasons.
 

Fishbone Jones

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
281
Points
910
SupersonicMax said:
Is there a reason to have a real knife vs a fake, plastic knife?

Would you parade on Remembrance Day with rubber rifles? Or as an Officer with a wooden sword?
 
J

jollyjacktar

Guest
recceguy said:
It already is a weapon, decorative surely, but still a weapon.

Used, is the operative word in my concern.  Anything can conceivably be a weapon depending upon it's use.  You could probably be beaten to death with a large rubber dildo I suppose and at that point it would be viewed as a weapon.  As long as the Sikhs/Scots don't want to go all stabby stabby with their decoration, I'm cool with their carrying it as I am aware of it's religious/cultural use.

I suppose as they're no longer allowed to spy on reporters, the Montreal fuzz have to fill their time somehow.  What better way than to pick on a large black man of Scottish/Jamaican heritage wearing what is obviously ladies attire and concealing a baby Claymore down there.  A three-fer....    :nod:
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
605
Points
910
recceguy said:
Would you parade on Remembrance Day with rubber rifles? Or as an Officer with a wooden sword?

It is a but different in that the knife is tucked into the sock and not in view and the sword is in plain view and that riffles generally do not have bolts in them.  Having said that, I would not mind fake swords/riffles for people on parade.  I do not see what having a real knife/sword/riffle brings that the real thing doesn't.
 

Journeyman

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
565
Points
940
SupersonicMax said:
It is a but different in that the knife is tucked into the sock and not in view and the sword is in plain view and that riffles generally do not have bolts in them.  Having said that, I would not mind fake swords/riffles for people on parade.  I do not see what having a real knife/sword/riffle brings that the real thing doesn't.
The knife is in view as the handle protrudes above sock; there is no mention of the police officer having x-ray vision.

The rifles do have a bolt in them on parade; it keeps the cocking handle from falling out.

I too am perfectly OK with pilots being restricted to carrying fake swords on parade.
 

Jed

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
0
Points
410
Journeyman said:
The knife is in view as the handle protrudes above sock; there is no mention of the police officer having x-ray vision.

The rifles do have a bolt in them on parade; it keeps the cocking handle from falling out.

I too am perfectly OK with pilots being restricted to carrying fake swords on parade.


:stirpot:  That gave me a good laugh!
 
Top