Saturday, November 14, 2009

Paul Clarke arrest; the Law continues to act the pantomime donkey

There's a new Twitterstorm brewing about ex-soldier Paul Clarke.

According to this report in a local paper, he finds a sawn* off shotgun in a bin liner at the bottom of his garden.

In his statement, he said: "I took it indoors and inside found a [sawn]-off shotgun and two cartridges.

"I didn't know what to do, so the next morning I rang the Chief Superintendent, Adrian Harper, and asked if I could pop in and see him.

"At the police station, I took the gun out of the bag and placed it on the table so it was pointing towards the wall."

Mr Clarke was then arrested immediately for possession of a firearm at Reigate police station, and taken to the cells.

Then he was charged, taken to court and found guilty of unlawful possession of a shotgun. He will be sentenced on Dec 11, and there is a mandatory time of 5 years for this offence, no mitigating circs, that's it. It's called Strict Liability, and the police in their wisdom decided that it applied in this case.

I phoned Reigate police on the evening of 14th November, and the duty officer was not aware of the case. Sceptics on Twitter were wondering if there was more to the story. There may be. The same locla newspaper man reports that a man called Paul Clarke was acquitted of an aggressive behavour charge on a DVLA inspector in September 2008.

I have contacted the reporter who broke the story, and she stands by her account. Her Twitters are here.

However, we can at least get our MPs to ascertain the facts of the shotgun case.

Use this link to email MPs.

Here's what I wrote:

John Penrose MP

Dear John,

Please read this account
about Paul Clarke, who found a shotgun dumped in his garden, handed it in to the police, as advised by the police, got arrested and is at risk of going down for 5 years.

On the face of it, this is an outrageous miscarriage of justice. Please ascertain the facts from Jack Straw, and if the report is correct, ask him to intervene.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,


You can copy and paste this, but be careful to change the names, as not all MPs are called John.

*The report actually reads shorn

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