A former soldier who handed a discarded shotgun in to police faces at least five years imprisonment for "doing his duty".But surely he was doing his civic duty getting an illegal firearm off the street? Surely Her Majesty's Realm is safer tonight than before? You'd think that the Brit.Gov would want to thank him for helping them eradicate guns from their society.
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.
You'd think wrong.
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?"Britain, you're so screwed.
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.
Hat tip: Samizdata.
UPDATE 16 November 2009 20:27: Now this is interesting (scroll way, way down to the bottom of the page):
Comments on this story have been disabled for legal reasonsPerhaps because they think that someone might post a comment like Prosecutor Brian Stalk would find himself, in a nobler age, under a layer of tar and feathers. Or swinging at the end of a gibbit.
Nah. Nobody'd ever think of something like that.