Mr Kerr who was found carrying a plastic drinks bottle containing a highly corrosive liquid has been jailed for a year. He was arrested on 18 July after being seen with the bottle near Bow Road station in east London.
Mr Kerr, who appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court, admitted possession of an offensive weapon, but had claimed that the substance, which could not be identified yet was strongly alkaline, was given to him by his mother to use as washing-up liquid because he is homeless.
The judge, Recorder Sally-Ann Hales QC told Kerr a corrosive liquid in a plastic bottle could “have no possible purpose other than for use as a highly dangerous weapon”.
Mr Kerr had been arrested by officers who had been called to reports of a robbery. A group of men were searched and Kerr was found to be carrying the bottle.
The prosecutor, Alex Rooke, said: “They found in that bag a squeezy drinks bottle with what they described as a frothy, murky liquid. Mr Kerr said that this bottle was his. He said it was washing-up liquid that his mother had given him because he was homeless.”
The prosecution is one of the first since the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, clarified her guidelines on selecting a charge for such cases, though Kerr was charged before the guidance was issued.
Nasreen Yadallee from CPS London said: “Kerr could find no excuse for carrying a corrosive substance in a squeezy bottle with the label removed. It was clear he was carrying it as a weapon, ready to use on someone if the need arose.
“Carrying a corrosive substance for the purpose of causing injury is a criminal offence punishable with a prison sentence.”
Alex Rooke, instructed by the prosecution has a busy criminal practice, which he describes as a 50/50 defence and prosecution practice, and believes this is the best way of learning and retaining the skills applicable to both sides of the courtroom. He has wide experience of cases involving serious violence, grave sexual offending, fraud and organised crime.
He often appears alone against Queen's Counsel and 'senior juniors', and is known for his ability to deal sensitively with clients and witnesses who are having difficulty with the experience of the court process, be that because of vulnerability, cultural difference or simply what is at stake for the client.