flycatcher1 18:47 29 Nov 2012

I see that one Judge got it wrong and then three Judges got it right.

  flycatcher1 19:29 29 Nov 2012

fourm member I read that he was guilty and was persuaded to plead that way because, nudge, nudge, he would just get a slap on the wrist punishment. The moral is never trust a Lawyer.

All charges have to ask "Is it in the Public Interest"? If the question was asked the answer should have been no.

Remember Kipling - It's Tommy this and Tommy that...................... Why, oh why do we, in this country, rarely look after our own.

Bing-alau Its a scotch for me!

  morddwyd 20:13 29 Nov 2012

Let's face it, there was no doubt about his guilt. The medical evidence would appear to have been discounted.

This appeal was entirely about the sentence.

The appeal against the conviction is about to start, and it is to be hoped that all his supporters will not now just settle down to a glass of the hard stuff and say "Job Done".

On the evidence I have seen, which, like everybody else, is just what the press have selected, I think the conviction (and the original sentence) should stand.

However, I am one of the "armourers" referred to by wiz king, and my attitude to weapons, and their safety, is probably a little more rigid than most.

  Forum Editor 23:33 29 Nov 2012

morddwyd is right - there can be no doubt about the fact that the original conviction was sound. This man was in possession of an illegal firearm and a large quantity of ammunition, and he pleaded guilty.

The fact that he may have been wrongly advised about his plea is a separate matter entirely, and the original trial judge can't be blamed for it.

The sentence has been reduced on appeal, and that's an illustration of the justice system working properly. What happens now is up to the justice system again - an appeal against conviction seems to me to be a rather misguided policy, in that there is no doubt about the fact that the man possessed a firearm and ammunition illegally. He may be of exemplary character, but a criminal offence is a criminal offence, and good character usually mitigates with regard to the sentence, not the conviction.

  spuds 11:00 30 Nov 2012

I wonder how many people still have ex-war articles in the loft or garden shed, or haven't declared that shotgun that was obtained through a shopping catalogue many years ago. Who even the Lord or Squire who may have misplaced a gun or three?.

The gun laws in this country are the result of a knee jerk decision by the government of the day, and on that basis alone, things cannot be right.

  spuds 11:03 30 Nov 2012

In my above comment, I forgot to add other articles of authority that are possibly illegal to have, hold or use, whether a gift or not?.

  Forum Editor 11:40 30 Nov 2012

What is happening here is that a fairly straightforward case of the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition is acquiring cause célèbre status because of the military history of the convicted man.

On the one hand it's understandable - the media have decided that every member of the armed forces is a hero, which is nonsense, but it's happened - and on the other hand there's a real danger of the course of justice being perverted by politicians and the newspapers.

If someone has served the country with distinction in a military context that person has earned the right to the respect of his or her fellow citizens. What he or she hasn't earned is the right to be in any way above the law.

Imagine a situation in which a distinguished military person held an illegal firearm which was detected by Police. Because of the military record the authorities decide to take no action, save the confiscation of the gun and ammunition. Later on a distinguished charity worker is found to have an illegal weapon and ammunition, and is charged with the offence. The defence lawyer might understandably argue that because of the person's excellent record of service to the community he or she should be treated leniently by the court because there was a precedent - the earlier case would be cited.

For that reason alone the conviction in this case should stand,as should the reduced sentence. The man committed an offence, and a price must be paid. His service record may certainly be a mitigating factor, and I certainly have no argument with that, but allowing people to escape scot-free when they are found to hold guns and ammunition illegally would be a big mistake.

  flycatcher1 11:55 30 Nov 2012

I note that Sgt.Nightingale was given leave to appeal by the Lord Chief Justice and to other Judges on the grounds that his guilty plea was made as a result of unsound advice.

Service Heroes are all too common theses days but I remember a time when things were different. In Yorkshire town RAF men were singled out for parking and other offences. My wife worked for a Solicitor who was Clerk to the Court and, once again, RAF men were fined more than locals for the same offence. Might have changed when the Next Clerk to the Court who was not a Solicitor but was a wartime WoPAG. Sorry Wireless Operator,Air Gunner.

  morddwyd 13:24 30 Nov 2012

Let's have a reality check.

There must be very few service people involved with guns and ammo (involved, not just users) who have not come off the range wit the odd empty case, or even live round, tucked away at some time.

When I looked after the ammo stocks for the shooting club, if I got a delivery of ammunition in my lunch hour there was no way I was going to go to the guardroom, draw the key to the club, obtain th special authorisation to open the ammo locker, but the ammo away and do all the locking up,

It went in the bottom of my locker until the next club night. Had I been caught, like blokes in similar positions on various military bases, I'd have been lucky to hang on to my pension, let alone my freedom.

If you're involved with weapons you know the score, and you know the penalties.

I was once a "Ulster Hero" until, that is, in the mid 70s, I lost a quarter of a million rounds of small arms ammunition in the environs of Belfast Airport.

No-one wanted to know about Ulster heroes then, let me tell you (it was a paperwork error, but I spent a very uncomfortable couple of days!).

I've done time, military time, which is hard time, for "improper use of explosives in a public place" Yes I copped a plea (not much choice really, who's going to believe a teenage erk over a DCI of the Met?) but I knew the risks when I decided to bugger about. Many could tell similar stories, though few were daft enough to get caught like me.

A Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in the SAS didn't know about weapon regulations, and how to get round them?

Don't make me laugh!

  flycatcher1 18:44 30 Nov 2012

morddyd Many moons ago I was involved in the movement of troops to Northern Ireland; when they were told that an extensive search was to be carried out prior to boarding there was a rush to the toilets.

Lots of live ammo found in the water cisterns.

  morddwyd 21:29 30 Nov 2012

One other factor to think about is that this was a civil offence tried in a military court.

The Civil Power quite rightly jealously guards its its rights over the military, and does no readily pass them over.

It's normally done because the Judge Advocate General is not as perverse as a jury, or because they believe military sentencing will be harder (as it was in my case).

With all the hysteria surrounding this casw I doubt they'd ever have got a jury to convict, so they let the JAG deal with it.

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