Ex-soldier faces jail for handing in gun

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by -Sardaukar-, Nov 13, 2009.

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  1. Be careful with what you find in your garden...


    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."

    The court heard how Mr Clarke was on the balcony of his home in Nailsworth Crescent, Merstham, when he spotted a black bin liner at the bottom of his garden.

    In his statement, he said: "I took it indoors and inside found a shorn-off shotgun and two cartridges.

    "I didn't know what to do, so the next morning I rang the Chief Superintendent, Adrian Harper, and asked if I could pop in and see him.

    "At the police station, I took the gun out of the bag and placed it on the table so it was pointing towards the wall."

    Mr Clarke was then arrested immediately for possession of a firearm at Reigate police station, and taken to the cells.

    Defending, Lionel Blackman told the jury Mr Clarke's garden backs onto a public green field, and his garden wall is significantly lower than his neighbours.

    He also showed jurors a leaflet printed by Surrey Police explaining to citizens what they can do at a police station, which included "reporting found firearms".

    Quizzing officer Garnett, who arrested Mr Clarke, he asked: "Are you aware of any notice issued by Surrey Police, or any publicity given to, telling citizens that if they find a firearm the only thing they should do is not touch it, report it by telephone, and not take it into a police station?"

    To which, Mr Garnett replied: "No, I don't believe so."

    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.

    Just by having the gun in his possession he was guilty of the charge, and has no defence in law against it, he added.

    But despite this, Mr Blackman urged members of the jury to consider how they would respond if they found a gun.

    He said: "This is a very small case with a very big principle.

    "You could be walking to a railway station on the way to work and find a firearm in a bin in the park.

    "Is it unreasonable to take it to the police station?"

    Paul Clarke will be sentenced on December 11.

    Judge Christopher Critchlow said: "This is an unusual case, but in law there is no dispute that Mr Clarke has no defence to this charge.

    "The intention of anybody possessing a firearm is irrelevant."
  2. With luck, the judge will see it for what it is, give an absolute discharge, (and rip the CPS a new asshole)...
  3. mysteron

    mysteron LE Book Reviewer

    Here, fixed that for you......
  4. There seems to be very little national consistency with regards to the various Constabularies' views on the matter of handing in fire arms.

    If this chap had lived in Suffolk he would have no problem nipping down to the station with the offending item.

    I handed in a magazine and live ammunition at Belgravia Police station and the desk jockey didn't even take my name.
  5. If the facts are truly as presented above then what a waste of police and court time. The war against the law-abiding continues and the Chief Superindentent doesn't deserve a prefects badge. What a dismal episode.
  6. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Even when he gets "let off" at sentencing, I bet the conviction will stay in his record.......
  7. Minimum 5 years...

    Oh my giddy Aunt. Words truly fail me on this.
  8. Something not quite right here....

    Why did he ring a Chief Supernintendo and ask to "pop in and see him"? Surely he would have rung into a central Call centre, spoken to a call handler there and they would have advised him on what to do?

    Had a similar job here the other day, someone rang up "Ive found a gun". Details taken, Firearms Officer sent out to make it safe and take the weapon away, Simples....

    Not... "Ive found a gun"
    "Oh Lovely Ill just put you through to the boss as im sure he normally deals with this sort of thing!"
    "Yeah just walk around in Public on your way here with it and plonk it on my desk fella!"
    "Righto, no dramas!"

    If its as reported then its completely wrong and will seriously undermine the new "confidence programme" but as I say it just all seems a bit odd.
  9. BiscuitsAB

    BiscuitsAB LE Moderator

    See its stupid things like this that have completly eroded any faith or trust in the police for a significant percentage of decent people in society. I'm sure the vast number of police "officers" are decent people and the rank and file must be banging their heads against the wall when they see things like this happening for as much as its an easy cop and a tick in the box its also another nail in the coffin of police public trust.
  10. It's bit odd story..and of course runs amok among US gun nuts. Surprise there. :lol:
    Lot of folks there seem to get wet downstairs when someone mentions weapon.

    I thought to put it through filter of ARRSE. :p
  11. So if we all toddled down to Mr Stalks' gaff and dropped a few legitimately held weapons over his garden fence; then helpfully called the fuzz.... :twisted: 8)
  12. Thanks, I knew somebody would finish my...
  13. Rolo's?
  14. Thank goodness he didn't try and walk into the police station with a wrapped up chair-leg.