Anti-LTN campaigner Jody Graber spared jail following knife conviction

Independent candidate for St Peter's ward, Jody Graber launches his campaign on Prebend St on 06.0

Jody Graber, who stood as an independent candidate for St Peter's ward in the council elections this year - Credit: Polly Hancock

An anti-LTN campaigner who stood in Islington's St Peter's ward May by-election has been spared an immediate sentence after being found guilty of possession of a knife in a public place.

Jody Graber was handed a four-month jail term - suspended for 18 months - at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court yesterday afternoon (November 9).

Graber was found guilty following a trial at the same court on October 20, at which he and his girlfriend gave evidence.

An 8cm-bladed kitchen knife was found under dozens of plastic spoons in the centre console of his car when he was pulled over by police on March 11 at the junction of Essex Road with Cross Street.

Graber, 41, of Caldy Walk, Canonbury, claimed the knife was accidentally left in the car after he took a set of his girlfriend's kitchen knives to be sharpened at Chapel Market.

But police officers from the Met's violence suppression unit told the court that Graber, after being informed that a knife had been found in his car, stated it "wasn’t within reach" and was "at the bottom" [of the spoons in the console] - indicating he was aware of its presence. 

Asking whether the sentence could be suspended - meaning it will not be activated unless Graber commits another crime in the next 18 months - his barrister said: "Mr Graber is someone for whom the greatest punishment at all from this entire episode is the conviction itself. 

"It has destroyed a pillar of stability in his life which is the ability to represent the community of Islington.

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"He stood for election in the local council elections, and although he's not a councillor he continues to represent and stand up for the people of Islington.

"This conviction has seriously hampered his ability to be involved in public life and contribute to the community in the way that he has been."

Alongside the suspended sentence, presiding Justice Mervyn Mandell and winger Hilary Renwick handed Graber 18 months supervision, costs of £620 and a victim surcharge of £128.

Mr Mandell said: "We think it's so serious that only custody would be appropriate.

"We remind you this is a suspended sentence so you need to be very careful for the next 18 months."

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