Being Public Spirited Can Sod Up Your Day.

#1
This is probably old news now and sorry if I’ve missed it elsewhere on here; http://www.thisissurreytoday.co.uk/...nding-gun/article-1509082-detail/article.html

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.
Maybe not the brightest of moves by Mr Clarke but surely he should get some credit for removing it from circulation?
 
#4
Those “amnesties†were probably in preparation for the current hit ‘em hard regime.

This 5 years in the slammer for even picking up some other bugger’s weapon is probably one of the unintended consequences of the Blare/Brown “war†on gun crime. Why is it that nearly every knee jerk, must-do-something legislation that’s emanated from this Government has had booby traps hidden inside it?
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#6
It probably isn't clear from the link, but your "public spirited ex-soldier" may not be the victim of a miscarriage of justice as first appears... :oops:

"Man accused of attacking DVLA inspector with broom walks free"

Did Clarke's previous brush with the Courts have any bearing on the resultant conviction or was this is a case of a grudge held by CPS? I leave you to draw your own conclusions... :shock:

To be honest, he appears to be taking his 'public duties to the community' a little too seriously, and sees himself as a bit of a vigilante. In my opinion, of course. :wink:
 
#8
sgtpepperband said:
It probably isn't clear from the link, but your "public spirited ex-soldier" may not be the victim of a miscarriage of justice as first appears... :oops:

"Man accused of attacking DVLA inspector with broom walks free"

Did Clarke's previous brush with the Courts have any bearing on the resultant conviction or was this is a case of a grudge held by CPS? I leave you to draw your own conclusions... :shock:
Surely any previous brushes with the law aren’t allowed to be brought up in court?

It might have had a bearing on whether the police proceeded with the prosecution though, I suppose.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#9
LP_B: The Police do not proceed with the prosecution - all PACE Stations have access to a CPS lawyer, who advise officers at the outset (usually while the Suspect is brought into custody or as soon as the investigation commences) on the appropriate relevant charge and whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. It appears that in the initial case they agreed that there was sufficient evidence to do so, which was however subsequently overruled in the Appeal Court.

And yes, antecedents (including records of arrests, whether they result in a conviction or not) are presented to the Court, once the Accused is found guilty of an offence, and the Judge will formulate an appropriate sentence based on this and other factors.

Therefore the blame - if any - lies solely with the CPS in this instance... :oops:
 
#11
Hard not to feel that this is another example of small-minded jobsworths in a position of responsibility. Granted, he could just have taken the weapon to the front desk of his local Police Station, rather than ringing the boss first, but arresting him on the spot for theoretical possession seems OTT to me. Whetehr or not his local constabulary had an information leaflet in circulation suggesting that weapons should be left in-situ is beside the point - a potentially dangerous weapon was off the streets. One hopes that common sense will prevail, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
 

JamesH

Lantern Swinger
#12
I've been following this on Arrse, as well as a few other fora. The general lack of a widespread furore is something that's a little interesting. Good citizen doing his duty about to go down for a 5 stretch - where's the outrage bus? Where's the questions in the house? Why isn't it on every single news bulletin and on the Daily Heil's front page?

From what I can glean, the MOP kept the gun for 24 hours, rang a senior officer against whom he has a previous beef, to arrange an appointment and then places the weapon on the desk. Why not just give it to the rent-a-chimp on the front desk and walk away?

I smell something fishy here, almost as fishy as a fishy thing in Trawlertown.

James
 

R12_CV

Lantern Swinger
#13
Mmm.... coppers & guns (digressing slightly if I may).

About 10 years ago in my last house situated next to a Ginnle/snicket. It was a Fri night and I was getting spammed up ready for an evening at the local, but before I handed in my Station Card to the missus, through the window I noticed in the dark shadows a bloke trying to shoot the street lights in the ginnel, but for some reason the rifle didn't appear to fire (his actions indicated the weapon was jamming).
So as a tax paying (& burglar tactic aware) citizen, I called the police. The conversation went...
'What type of gun is it?' he asked
'...? I don't know!' I answered
'Can't you go and ask him?'
'EH...???' I asked
'Our response will depend on what type of weapon it is'
At that point Civil Duty disappeared as the last Liberty Boat call came...!

Now notwithstanding the 'have-a-go' hero approach and accepting that it may well have been an air rifle, I think that expecting Joe Public to step in and do the police job is asking a little too much.
Especially as any challenge from me would probably have resulted in me being arrested for upsetting a potential villain or even affray!
 
#14
One Sunday morning at about 7a.m. I noticed a large knife that had been concealed behind my front wall. I called the police station and a good eight hours later a plod came along and just picked it up, with bare hands, by the handle thus destroying any fingerprint evidence that might have been on it.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#15
lesart said:
One Sunday morning at about 7a.m. I noticed a large knife that had been concealed behind my front wall. I called the police station and a good eight hours later a plod came along and just picked it up, with bare hands, by the handle thus destroying any fingerprint evidence that might have been on it.
Although an aide to crime detection, fingerprints are not infallible. Detection rates from DNA are far more successful than dabs which, as you quite correctly stated, can be easily wiped (and probably were, long before the aforementioned Police Officer handled the weapon).

Linking a randomly-found knife to a specific offence (undetected or otherwise) is very hard to prove; it is probable that the item was retrieved purely for disposal - which, at the end of the day, is much better than the alternative... 8O
 
#16
sgtpepperband said:
LP_B: The Police do not proceed with the prosecution - all PACE Stations have access to a CPS lawyer, who advise officers at the outset (usually while the Suspect is brought into custody or as soon as the investigation commences) on the appropriate relevant charge and whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. It appears that in the initial case they agreed that there was sufficient evidence to do so, which was however subsequently overruled in the Appeal Court.

And yes, antecedents (including records of arrests, whether they result in a conviction or not) are presented to the Court, once the Accused is found guilty of an offence, and the Judge will formulate an appropriate sentence based on this and other factors.

Therefore the blame - if any - lies solely with the CPS in this instance... :oops:
While I agree with your last comment; that the police have a duty to investigate which includes arrest and that the decision to drop it (if appropriate) should have been made by the CPS, there are some corrections to be made.

CPS operate an office hours service in designated police stations (stations with cells), and they are to be consulted when seeking a charging decision. Although in the cases of many (minor) offences, if there is an anticipated guilty plea or overwhelming evidence, then the police can make a charging decision. Out of hours the CPS are reached by phone and the arrest file faxed to them to obtain a charging decision. They have several tests they apply which include the amount of evidence (minimal needed in this case as it was a strict liability offence*) and whether prosecution is in the public interest. The CPS play minimal part in the investigation and will only usually be consulted when the investigation is almost, if not completely, completed.

Furthermore, recent changes mean that both the police and the CPS can bring bad character into the courtroom. A general rule of thumb is that on conclusion of an interview, on a separate tape/DVD the police may challenge a suspect if they have tried to infer that they are of good character. Equally if the defendant stands in the dock and tries to make out that they are an angel then the CPS can apply to the judge to bring information relating to previous conviction to the attention of the jury.

*For those interested the points to prove were likely to be that it was the defendant, who presumably was arrested on the spot thereby removing any risk of identity issues, that they had in their possession a lethal barrelled weapon, and the time, date and location.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#17
Fan of Google then, Jazzy? I am more than familiar with the process of charging for an offence, and also the PTP for an offence of possession of a firearm. I merely simplified my quoted reply for the benefit of those non-law enforcement members of RR... :shock:
 
#18
Fair enough, but the implication was that the CPS run the investigation, which in my experience isn't the case.

No google involved, unfortunately. Just getting the last of the policing out of my system before I join the senior service early 2010.
 

janner

MIA
Book Reviewer
#19
jazz_fan9 said:
sgtpepperband said:
LP_B: The Police do not proceed with the prosecution - all PACE Stations have access to a CPS lawyer, who advise officers at the outset (usually while the Suspect is brought into custody or as soon as the investigation commences) on the appropriate relevant charge and whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. It appears that in the initial case they agreed that there was sufficient evidence to do so, which was however subsequently overruled in the Appeal Court.

And yes, antecedents (including records of arrests, whether they result in a conviction or not) are presented to the Court, once the Accused is found guilty of an offence, and the Judge will formulate an appropriate sentence based on this and other factors.

Therefore the blame - if any - lies solely with the CPS in this instance... :oops:
While I agree with your last comment; that the police have a duty to investigate which includes arrest and that the decision to drop it (if appropriate) should have been made by the CPS, there are some corrections to be made.

CPS operate an office hours service in designated police stations (stations with cells), and they are to be consulted when seeking a charging decision. Although in the cases of many (minor) offences, if there is an anticipated guilty plea or overwhelming evidence, then the police can make a charging decision. Out of hours the CPS are reached by phone and the arrest file faxed to them to obtain a charging decision. They have several tests they apply which include the amount of evidence (minimal needed in this case as it was a strict liability offence*) and whether prosecution is in the public interest. The CPS play minimal part in the investigation and will only usually be consulted when the investigation is almost, if not completely, completed.

Furthermore, recent changes mean that both the police and the CPS can bring bad character into the courtroom. A general rule of thumb is that on conclusion of an interview, on a separate tape/DVD the police may challenge a suspect if they have tried to infer that they are of good character. Equally if the defendant stands in the dock and tries to make out that they are an angel then the CPS can apply to the judge to bring information relating to previous conviction to the attention of the jury.

*For those interested the points to prove were likely to be that it was the defendant, who presumably was arrested on the spot thereby removing any risk of identity issues, that they had in their possession a lethal barrelled weapon, and the time, date and location.
Jazz could we have some reference to the documentation used for your post or an indication of your experience.
 
#20
What did you have in mind, my knowledge comes from various source, including but not limited to, the police national legal database, Blackstones Police investigators' manual 2009, the beat officers companion 11th edition, the police visual handbook, police training materials, an outline working knowledge of the crown prosecutors code and 4 years capacity as an operational police officer.
 

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