The Shotgun Blog
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Mother of the Free
A former soldier who handed a discarded shotgun in to police faces at least five years imprisonment for "doing his duty".
Paul Clarke, 27, was found guilty of possessing a firearm at Guildford Crown Court on Tuesday – after finding the gun and handing it personally to police officers on March 20 this year.
The jury took 20 minutes to make its conviction, and Mr Clarke now faces a minimum of five year's imprisonment for handing in the weapon.
In a statement read out in court, Mr Clarke said: "I didn't think for one moment I would be arrested.
"I thought it was my duty to hand it in and get it off the streets."
But what about his intent? Ah, they have you there:
Prosecuting, Brian Stalk, explained to the jury that possession of a firearm was a "strict liability" charge – therefore Mr Clarke's allegedly honest intent was irrelevant.
Posted by Richard Anderson on December 20, 2009 | Permalink
I guess they don't have jury nullification in Olde Blighty.
Posted by: Tregonsee | 2009-12-20 1:06:14 PM
Not that it makes the case much less outrageous, it is worth pointing out that he was not sentenced to "a minimum of five year's imprisonment" as the story originally reported, but to "a 12-month suspended sentence". The update I linked to also tells us there is a lot more to the story than originally reported, including a four-day delay in reporting the gun, sex between the accused and a cop, and accusations of police harassment.
But the law is still ludicrous.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-12-20 2:22:19 PM
Good work FC. This type of "crime" along with zero tolerance for "weapons" (kids have been expelled from school for possessing plastic knives) are evidence of mass hysteria acting as a poor substitute for common sense and sound judgment. I don't foresee these societies having happy endings.
Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-12-20 8:19:48 PM
Britain's anal retentive zero tolerance for weapons law is absurd and extreme. Even with there strict laws and zero tolerance policies it does not reduce violent crime. The law should focus on punishing people who use guns and knives to commit crimes, not just mindlessly punish every single person who happens to have a gun or a knife even if there is absolutely no reason to even suspect that the person might commit a crime.
Posted by: Sheldon | 2009-12-20 8:45:54 PM
Britain is a basket case, We are heading in the same direction, so we should not feel too smug.
Posted by: peterj | 2009-12-20 11:01:50 PM
This is why guns must be legalized! Clearly the guy posed no threat to the community. The gun was in his house.
Now do you see how ridiculous "drug legalization" is?
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-12-21 6:57:30 AM
If I have a gun in breach of the law and hand it over to as police officer, that police officer is now in breach of the law. If that officer passes it to the crown then the crown is in breach. it is the gift that keeps on giving.
Posted by: kent | 2009-12-21 9:59:46 AM
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