When I read this story a couple of weeks ago, I was impressed to see how Mother Britain has gone completely to hell.
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.”
It has become increasingly apparent that in Britain justice has become a joke. When the law has been written in such an idiotic fashion that a man doing what he considers is his civic duty – who actually does the right and the intelligent thing – goes to jail because the wording of the legislation on the books is written to entrap not to serve the public, then something in the character of the country has been lost.
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.
“If this what is considered to be good law or intelligent legislation in Britain then Britain is a good place to avoid.
But then again I don’t know why I should be freshly surprised by this story. This is the same country where a person defending himself against a burglar in his own home goes to jail while the burglar goes free.
The thing is, we can’t afford to be smug because this has taken place in ‘Jolly Old’ and assume that nothing so stupid could ever happen here. Give some of our bureaucrats and politicians half a chance and we too could have even more ridiculous legislation on the books. Although I am sure that if we looked just a little closer we could find much stupidity already sitting in our own legislative books just lurking there to astound us.