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The Five Year Rule

 
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Arnold



Joined: 28 Jun 2006
Posts: 52
Location: England

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:30 pm    Post subject: The Five Year Rule Reply with quote

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9086833/Widow-faces-jail-for-possession-of-late-husbands-illegal-pistol-after-it-was-stolen-during-burglary.html

There seems to be the situation that it is seldom the case that the guilty attract the full tariff.
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Carrot Cruncher



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 751

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thankyou for posting this Arnold.
The minimum sentence was amended in to the 1968 Firearms Act by (I think) the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act. The provision allows for judical discretion in "exceptional circumstances."

Judges hate statutory sentencing minimums, and all lawyers tend to dislike absolute offences. Results from courts repeatedly demonstrate this.
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JonathanL
Certified Gun Nut


Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 1013
Location: North East

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carrot Cruncher wrote:
Thankyou for posting this Arnold.
The minimum sentence was amended in to the 1968 Firearms Act by (I think) the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act. The provision allows for judical discretion in "exceptional circumstances."

Judges hate statutory sentencing minimums, and all lawyers tend to dislike absolute offences. Results from courts repeatedly demonstrate this.


Carrot Cruncher wrote:
Thankyou for posting this Arnold.
The minimum sentence was amended in to the 1968 Firearms Act by (I think) the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act. The provision allows for judical discretion in "exceptional circumstances."

Judges hate statutory sentencing minimums, and all lawyers tend to dislike absolute offences. Results from courts repeatedly demonstrate this.


What are "exceptional circumstances" though and what could they possibly be in this particular case? I can't see any, to be honest.

The woman possessed an illegal firearm and a load of illegal ammunition fully in the knowledge that she was not allowed to. She has never tried to deny it if the report is to be believed.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think she should be particularly harshly dealt with (unlawful possession is not dangerous in it's self it's intend to use a firearm criminally that matters). However, the law is the law so why shouldn't she do five years? Any one of us would do.

It will no doubt reflect badly on the knee-jerk politicans who enacted this rubbish but perhaps that's the mess they have got them selves into.

J.
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cybershooters
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Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 4589

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless the burglar does five years I think it will be a tough sell for her to do it.
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Only three things are certain: death, taxes and stupid gun laws.
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Carrot Cruncher



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 751

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JonathanL wrote:


What are "exceptional circumstances" though J.


Well, you get straight to the heart of it Jonathan.
Have a good (expensive) brief, then hope for the right judge on the right day.
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JonathanL
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Joined: 02 Jul 2006
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Location: North East

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cybershooters wrote:
Unless the burglar does five years I think it will be a tough sell for her to do it.


Hardly comparable though and not really relevant either. The test is whether there are 'exceptional circumstances' to the case and from the report I can't see any. Can anyone else?

Admitedley, we can't be sure how accurate the report is (good chance it may not be) but the substance of it probably is and there is no getting away from the fact that the woman at the centre of this case knowingly possessed the thing for over a decade along with a substantial amount of ammunition.

Parliament has decided that there should be a 5 year minimum sentence so she shoudl get it. If she doesn't deserve it from a moral point of view (which I think she doesn't) then Parliament needs to change the law.

On the other hand, she may be a hard-core gun runner who just happend to get caught so deserved all she gets.

J.
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JonathanL
Certified Gun Nut


Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 1013
Location: North East

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carrot Cruncher wrote:
JonathanL wrote:


What are "exceptional circumstances" though J.


Well, you get straight to the heart of it Jonathan.
Have a good (expensive) brief, then hope for the right judge on the right day.


All true but a good brief on a good day can only stretch the notion of 'exceptional' so far.

I really can't see any 'exceptional' circumstances here. She was willingly in possession of an item to which Parliament has said that in the normal course of events she should go to prision for five years so why shouldn't she?

If she didn't realise that she was in possession (such as it being in the loft) then I can see that argument but she admited that she knew she had it all along.

Its a crap and unfair system (it should be about intent, not mere possession) but that's the system we have so why should she not be subject to it? At least if some 'innocent' peopel get locked up it might end up in a more realistic system. Like one that actually locks up real criminals.

J.
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Rob



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 700
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this demonstrates the brutality of a law which cannot distinguish between a strutting gangsta with a Makarov in his waistband, and a widow who comes into possession of her late husband's old revolver. I seem to recall Jack Straw announcing a five year sentence for people "carrying" guns, which is something very different from finding a war trophy in your husband's effects. Once again, we can only conclude that the law is an ass administered by heartless morons, and all politicians are scum.
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Carrot Cruncher



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 751

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob wrote:
all politicians are scum.


I'll drink excessively to that.
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cybershooters
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 4589

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Jim McAllister's case the judge stopped the proceedings, his spouse died and when the police searched his house for an unrelated reason (handgun he had tried to get a section 4 exemption for, but it was actually with an RFD) they searched his wife's bedroom and found a handgun that he didn't know about, apparently a war souvenir she had hung on to (I think her father had been in the French resistance, can't remember the whole story off-hand).

The difference here is that she apparently knew about it but just benignly ignored the situation.
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