Golf clubs, knitting needles taken to court

Last updated 05:00 04/03/2014

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No guns, no knives, no alcohol, no gang patches - and you can leave the violins and gardening tools at home too.

Violins, golf clubs, skateboards and guitars were all among items that people tried to take into courthouses last year, either intentionally or inadvertently.

Courts in Wellington, the Hutt Valley, Porirua and Wairarapa seized the predictable knives, gang clothing and alcohol, with security staff at Wellington District Court being the busiest.

They confiscated 1072 items last year, including 311 pocket knives or multi-tools, 167 pairs of scissors and 89 labouring or gardening tools, documents released under the Official Information Act show.

The list also included confiscation of utensils used for drugs, alcohol, a set of chef's knives, a baton, fireworks, a first aid kit, fishing tackle, golf clubs, two violins, and a wooden cane.

Porirua, Hutt Valley and Masterton district courts were quieter, but added protest placards, cricket bats and knitting needles to the list.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Tony Fisher said most of the items were confiscated because of their potential as weapons, but some were taken simply as a precaution.

"While first aid kits may not seem a security risk, they have been seized because they contain scissors.

"While an umbrella that folds up into a handbag is unlikely to be a security risk, an umbrella with a hard metal point could be used as a weapon."

Items such as felt-tip pens were also confiscated to reduce the risk of in-court graffiti.

Funding for court security measures has nearly doubled since 2009, with nearly $10 million spent over the past four years.

Last year, there were 361 security incidents at courthouses reported, 78 of which were considered serious, but that was a 35 per cent drop on incidents in 2008-09.


Items confiscated at Wellington, Porirua, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa courts last year:

364 pocket knives or multi-tools

118 helmets

170 pairs of scissors

17 umbrellas

17 guitars

97 items of household cutlery

100 skateboards, scooters, bikes and rollerskates

24 markers or felt-tip pens

2 knitting needles

2 violins

1 cricket bat

1 set of golf clubs

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- The Dominion Post


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