Holly Thompson, the Surrey Mirror journalist who reported on the Paul Clarke case has been twittering with some vital details:
- The story was covered by The Sun on Page 25 last Thursday (though I can’t find a link for it). It was an “EXCLUSIVE”.
- Ms Thompson was in court for the full two days of the trial
- Mr Clarke previously had a successful appeal against conviction in a “broomhandle case“
- The Surrey Mirror is launching a campaign to get Mr Clarke out of jail
- When he phoned the police (before his visit) “He didn’t tell police he had a gun. He said: “I’ve got something to give you”. He admits that was mistake but didn’t know the law “
- “Mr Clarke didn’t take the stand. His written statement was read out in court and not disputed by the prosecution..”
- “Why did they prosecute? This is my guess work but I’m guessing they took his statment as an admission of guilt due to strict liability”
- “He was charged for the Possession of a prohibited firearm”. I have found this snippet: “The penalty for possession of a prohibited firearm without a certificate is a maximum of ten years in prison and an uncapped fine. Certain kinds of firearm (my italics) attract a mandatory minimum of five years”
- Ms Thompson points to the current Home Office “Guidance to the Police – Firearms Law”. On Page 129 I have found this:
25.5 Anyone surrendering an illegally held
firearm should be questioned discreetly with
a view to establishing its history but, unless
circumstances exist to give serious cause for
concern as to its provenance (for example,
if it appears to have been stolen), the
person handing it in should not be pressed.
The emphasis should be on creating an
environment in which people hand in illegally
This guidance seems quite a long way from what happened in this case, unless some vital detail has been missed somewhere (and Ms Thompson seems to have approached this story with great vigour for detail).