False details fine

By David Kavanagh | posted on July 5, 2019

A YOUNG man who was caught with two knives strapped to his body near an Albany nightclub in May told police his name was Duke Silver, the alias of a character from American sitcom Parks and Recreation.

Eighteen-year-old Thomas Penny pleaded guilty to giving false personal details to police and carrying an article with intent to cause fear when he appeared before Magistrate Raelene Johnston at Albany Magistrates Court last Thursday.

Police searched Mr Penny near nightclub Studio 146 on Stirling Terrace at around 2:40am on Sunday, May 19, and found one six-inch boning knife bound to his right ankle and another attached to his back between two layers of clothing.

Mr Penny, who did not have legal representation at the hearing, said he had run into a group of old school friends at the White Star Hotel earlier in the evening and was “quite drunk” by the time police searched him.

He admitted to telling police his name was Duke Silver, the “jazz playing alter ego” of Parks and Recreation character Ron Swanson and said “at that time I was quite paranoid”.

Mr Penny partly attributed his fear to living in Spencer Park where he occasionally heard “people screaming” and which he associated with “crackheads”.

“I just didn’t feel safe,” he said.

Magistrate Johnston said it was “particularly concerning” Mr Penny had the weapons on him at the time.

“Your judgement [when intoxicated] is not going to be what it would be sober,” she said, adding Mr Penny could have ended up threatening someone or using the weapons in his inebriated state.

“If you’re stopped by police, don’t mess around. Just give them your details.”

Mr Penny was fined $250 for the false details charge and $350 for carrying the two weapons, in addition to $205.30 for court costs.

He was also granted a spent conviction with Magistrate Johnston noting Mr Penny had a clean record, pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, was “articulate” and had “previous good character”.