Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Five years for handing in a gun to the police?

Constantly Furious has a blogpost today which has drawn my attention to the case of Paul Clarke, an ex-soldier from Surrey who is likely to face five years in prison for taking a sawn-off shotgun with ammunition he had found in his garden to a police station. The police arrested him after he brought it in and he was found guilty by a court recently. The full story is here.

It would seem that posession of a firearm is a "strict liability" offence which means the defendant is guilty regardless of intent.

CF is very angry about this case as are many other people such as some commenters on his blog and many on Twitter. It would seem to fly in the face of natural justice. There are others who are claiming that there must be more to this case.

I am not sure, perhaps it will become more clear with further reports and the sentencing. However if it is as it seems then this is surely a travesty of justice.

As if to underline this, reading the comments on this blog post from Jack of Kent (which talks in more detail about the law behind the case) there is a comment from Alex Hamilton which directed me to this story from a few weeks ago. It describes how in a different situation also involving a gun with ammunition found by a member of the public that the police actually told him to bring it to the station.

Nothing like consistency eh?

1 comment:

SecurityScene said...

It seems obvious that what this man needed to do was, pick up the phone and call 999, advise them that he had found a shot gun and wait a few minutes for it to be picked up, likely by firearms offices trained to make it safe.

The gun may have been used in a murder or other crime and should have been left as undisturbed as possible. This to allow police to check for evidence that could be crucial to solve a case - now contaminated and four days late!

There is no licence that this man or any civilian could have had to carry this gun as I belive it was a sawn off shot gun which is illegal for anyone to own.

This man also shouldn't have waited 4 days to take in the weapon. During his initial phone call he should have made the police aware of what he had found so that they could make arrangements for the safe retrieval and give him advice on how to proceed.

You have to ask what he was doing with the gun for 4 days?

I don't think he should get 5 years, bit much but this man obiously has no common sense.