Laura’s client was stopped in customs at Birmingham airport. He had arrived from Turkey where he had been working for a period of a few months. His luggage was searched and he was found to be in possession of 3 tasers or stun guns. These were disguised as torches.
As a result he was charged with possession of three disguised firearm under Section 5(1A)(a) of the Firearms Act 1968. This meant that he was liable for a minimum sentence of five years custody. This sentence could only be avoided if ‘exceptional circumstances’ applied.
Our client maintained throughout that he bought them from a market in Istanbul believing them to be torches. He intended to keep one and give the others as gifts. He did not appreciate they also operated as stun guns. Click here to see the items:
Laura gave the difficult advice to the client, that as he knew that he had the items he was guilty of the offence. His lack of knowledge as to how the items operated did not provide a defence. He sought a second opinion from another firm of solicitors – in their rush to be optimistic, and perhaps tell him what he wanted to hear, the advice was legally incorrect.
At the first Crown Court hearing our client pleaded guilty but on the basis set out to the police in interview. The case was adjourned for a hearing as to whether he could be sentenced on that basis. Counsel provided continuity of representation, despite being involved in a trial at the time.
Evidence was given by the client and submissions were made by Counsel. Having heard from our client, the Judge was able to sentence him on a basis favourable to him. Exceptional circumstances were said to apply, and in combination with extensive mitigation the Judge was able to impose a free-standing suspended sentence rather than the firearm minimum sentence of five years.
Laura’s client was relieved, being able to keep his employment and a roof over his head!
Sometimes we have to give you difficult advice. Even when we do that, you can be confident that we will continue to fight for the best outcome possible in your case. If you wish to discuss a case involving a firearm minimum sentence or any other case with Laura please telephone 0115 9599550 or email her here.
She will provide you with advice on every aspect of your case, from funding, through to evidence, and likely outcome so that you can make the best choices.