A minor British royal has been described in several papers as having ‘had in his possession an envelope containing cocaine.”
Is “in his possession” a legal term? Why not just “had” or, if necessary, “with him” or “on him” or “about his person” or “on his person”? Is it to distinguish from, say, “in the glove compartment of his Bentley” where ownership could be legally contested?
I’d always assumed it was a tautology but maybe not in legalese or journalese. If I say “I have in my possession a first edition of Fowler” does it mean in my jacket pocket?