A POLISH butcher who armed himself with two knives for self-defence has been given a stern warning by Chester’s most senior judge.
Piotr Swiatek, 36, was out walking through the city with his girlfriend when her ex-partner Artur Szulc attacked the father-of-one.
CCTV showed Swiatek holding kitchen knives in each hand after he was set upon by Mr Szulc close to Rufus Court, off Northgate Street, shortly before 6am on March 2.
But Swiatek was spared jail yesterday after Chester Crown Court heard he did not use the knives against Mr Szulc, despite being punched and kicked.
Oliver King, prosecuting, said: “It’s clear Mr Swiatek was not the aggressor – indeed it was Mr Swiatek’s girlfriend’s ex-partner who was the aggressor – but CCTV footage show Mr Swiatek holding the knives in each hand as the other man continues to attack him.”
Police descended on the altercation and both men were arrested.
Swiatek pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a bladed weapon.
The court was told action had also been taken against Szulc who had been charged with a public order offence.
Judge Elgan Edwards, the Recorder of Chester, warned Swiatek he was very fortunate not be going straight to prison.
He sentenced him to six months custody, suspended for two years.
He told Swiatek: “We will not have people walking around Chester city centre carrying knives. It is wrong and very serious.”
Judge Edwards told Swiatek he had decided not to impose an immediate custodial sentence because of his good character and because he had no previous convictions.
He said: “It’s wrong and very serious for you to take knives out with you, even if your intention is self-defence.
“This offence passes the custody threshold but what has saved you is the fact that you were not the aggressor and that you are a hard-working man of good character.
“All this has led me to show mercy on you.”
Chris Hunt, defending, said he accepted the offence was serious but said the circumstances were unusual.
He said: “I accept that, ordinarily, if someone was walking the streets of Chester with knives, it’s extremely serious. However the facts of this case are different from the norm.
“Mr Swiatek is not seen waving the knives around. He is holding them in self-defence. He knows this was the wrong thing to do.
“He’s a hard working man, contributing to society and providing for his 14-year-old son back home in Poland.”