A young graduate, caught by police swinging around a martial arts weapon in the early hours, told officers he had just left a class and was innocently practising.
Tom Cunningham, 23, of Old Rectory Gardens, Stanton, Bury St. Edmunds, was arrested and police also found two small bags of cannabis on him, plus another Nunchucks weapon.
“For somebody so bright and intelligent, who has never been in trouble before, this set of circumstances pushes the boundary of belief as to how naive you can be,” said District Judge Tim Stone.
Trainee chef Cunningham, who has nine A-star GCSE’s, three A-grade ‘A’ levels and a Geography degree from Newcastle University received a 12-month community order and must complete 200 hours community service work.
He pleaded guilty at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court to possessing an offensive weapon and a quantity of cannabis on December 17 in Harper Road, Elephant & Castle, Southwark.
Prosecutor Mr. Terry Curtis told the court police were patrolling at 1.25am near the hostel Cunningham was staying at while visiting London.
“They noticed the defendant waving around a wooden pair of Nunchucks and he said he’d just come from a martial arts class and was practising some moves.”
Cunningham denies telling police he had just come from a class, insisting the weapons were a gift from a friend, who was also staying at the hospital.
While his friend was skateboarding nearby he simply began playing around with the Nunchucks and intended no harm to anybody.
He told the probation service he made a “stupid mistake” playing with the weapon in pubic.
Cunningham insists he has no alcohol or drug problems, with his cannabis use restricted to two or three occasions a month.
He is currently living with his parents, who do not know of his arrest.
“All he was doing was playing with the Nunchucks, he had no intention to threaten or harm anyone,” said Mr. Sidney Nelson, defending.
District Judge Stone added: “These are weapons, there’s no two ways about it. It’s unsurprising he was pulled up about it.”
He told first-time offender Cunningham: “The police saw you standing outside playing with these Nunchucks and they are an offensive weapon.
“If it happens again you will be imprisoned for a minimum of six months.
“This was an example of crass naivety. i don’t think there was malevolence attached to it, but it is a serious offence.
“If you come back to court for anything like this it will be custody, that’s a matter of fact.”
Cunningham was also ordered to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.