The New Gold Standard in Zero-Tolerance Insanity

From Great Britain, which really seems to be losing its mind of late, via Daniel Mitchell of Cato

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."

"¦ The court heard how Mr Clarke was on the balcony of his home in Nailsworth Crescent, Merstham, when he spotted a black bin liner at the bottom of his garden. In his statement, he said: "I took it indoors and inside found a shorn-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.

"¦ 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.

"¦ 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."

  • Roy

    This incident provides no lesson. (Did it really happen?)

  • Methinks

    Roy, the lesson is: The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.

    I find myself repeating Tacitus at least once per day now.

  • David Y

    So...Would a parent, stuck on the 2nd floor of a burning building, who drops his child to the firefighters' net below, be found guilty of child abuse for dropping the child?

    This is sheer insanity. I have a disturbing and growing sense that 'change' may indeed come--albeit from the thus far 'quiet, normal and obeying' citizens who are growing ever more fed up with the folly and legislative traps of the Legal Class--of which the story of Paul Clarke is but one example.

  • Cardin Drake

    If that is what the law says sir, the the law is an ass.

  • Roy

    Methinks, sorry I confused. Should have put brackets around my comment.

    Figured, btw, incident actually happened. Comments on Coyote prodded me to go check. Used links Coyote had, got data, then googled. Many hits. Actual event began to take second to reading comments on event, especially from professed liberals and from sheeple in British population. Learned, among other factoids, that at least some of these folks aware that possession of pepper spray in one's purse could result in years of prison. Good percentage of British commentors believed there had to be more to the story than the paper reported, but many who interacted, while noting sentence not yet pronounced, expressed confidence (albeit w/ disappointment) that law would leave court no option.

    Yes, there is a lesson here. Not hard to read, either.

  • spiro

    again, this is why my ancestors LEFT Europa and settled here. 200 years later, and British society (and their regard for the immutable Law) still looks like a Dickens novel.

  • Peter

    This is certainly a case where the jury should have nullified the law with a not guilty finding. Unfortunately the jury probably did not realize that it had the power to do so.

  • perlhaqr

    What a horribly evil man! Possessing a shotgun, indeed. Obviously, he should have just left it where it was for some kids to find. That would have been much better.

  • Ken

    There was a prior incident involving Mr Clarke: http://www.thisissurreytoday.co.uk/golf/Man-accused-attacking-DVLA-inspector-broom-walks-free/article-361380-detail/article.html

    The shotgun was most likely planted, to set him up.

  • jma

    Thanks, Ken. Must agree. A tad of dirty work going on. Mr. Clarke appears to have been set up. I still don't understand how turning in a gun warrants such punishment. Perhaps he can get another trial if the jury was not properly informed of their options.

  • palm beach sugar daddy ken doll

    ...and this differs from american federal prosecution of pain-management doctors "because they prescribed too many pain pills to their exclusively chronic-pain clientele - no, we don't have medical degrees, why should that matter?" farces; or the made-in-the-USA "since we refused to accept your explanation for the $6000 cash you had on you when we pulled you over to write you a ticket, we'll just confiscate it, good luck fighting us in court to get it back" garbage......how, exactly?

    it's the exact same principle as drowning the runts of a dog litter or hitting a stubborn mule across the head with a 2-by-4: you want and expect instant compliance and obedience. you're simply getting their attention to help them to understand what's required of them.

    i rather suspect this sort of thing will continue until the authorities are somehow dissuaded from doing it - and the longer we wait to put a stop to it, the more.....ah....the more *vigorous* the dissuasion will have to be.

    poor mr. clarke shouldn't waste his time hoping/dreaming of a retrial or something that might pass for "justice" in a civilized country. he is no doubt familiar with the infamous case of england's own tony martin, who - whilst having his home invaded by an armed pair of yobs - shot one dead and perforated the other with a lovely set of holes, albeit unfortunately not to a fatal extent. mr. martin was of course arrested and tried for - wait for it - for the *murder* of the dead home-invader, and for the wounding of arsewipe 'B'. all of england was outraged! a man tried for murder simply for defending 'imself, 'is 'ome, and 'is property! 'orrible! unfinkable! surely the courts would toss this out and give poor ol' tony a grand apology, maybe lunch wiv the queen, and the order of the garter! england confidently expected acquittal, and waited as the trial date drew near.

    whereupon, martin was **convicted** of the murder and woundings he was charged with, and sent orff to jail for "life in prison", the usual sentence for fiendish killers such as him. they eventually paroled him, but it took awhile. at one hearing in which his parole was rejected, (think 'red' in 'shawshank'), the parole board head, a cretinous moron known as sir david hatch, noted that - even after all the rehabilitation and shower rapes, etc., he'd been through, martin still seemed to "believe his action was right". he ended up doing just under 4 years, IIRC. he has his life back now, such as it is, being a convicted murderer and all. that's what mr. clarke can expect.

    have a nice day, y'all....stay away from and never under *any* circumstances, speak to a cop.....or allow a search of your vehicle...("you mind if i take a look for my own safety?" is sneaky cop-speak for "do you consent to a search of your vehicle?")....or let them into your home without a warrant....sure it's cynical. and had england's mr. clarke followed those rules, he'd still have a life. these are the days in which we dine with wolves. watch your backs, coyoters.

  • The lesson here is this: The penalty for possession is the same - whether you keep it for later use or hand it in.

    Ergo, KEEP IT. Cache it in a PVC pipe with grease and dessicant, and bury it vertically under a post or elsewhere nearby enough to be able to get to it, but off your property so you can't be charged. A THINKING man should have no problem coming up with ways to do this without being caught.

    This is *OUR* future, people -- if we don't put a stop to the creeping fascism in play here.

    God help us, and GOD SAVE OUR REPUBLIC!

  • markm

    Palm Beach etc.:
    The difference between the pain-control doctor prosecutions and Clarke's prosecution is that in the latter case there is no question at all about the facts.

    But you need to study the Martin case a bit more before commenting about it. Martin didn't shoot home invaders while they were breaking in or threatening him. He chased them off with a shotgun, then followed them and shot them in the back. That's illegal even in Texas. It's not self-defense when they're running from you.

    Of course, in Texas or nearly anywhere else in the US, it would have been quite legal to possess that shotgun, without any license and without giving anyone a reason. Martin would have had good reason to suspect that the thugs would make a phone call to the cop shop, then come back after the cops disarmed him. It is self defense when they're running from you as a tactical move to regain the advantage... But Britons no longer have a meaningful right to self defense.

  • palm beach sugar daddy ken doll

    ahhhh, i see now, markm. so - leaving out all the "cain't have no shotguns or self-defense in blighty" issue entirely - the issue here is that martin killed the home invaders in a *manner frowned upon by the state*. still, i'm confused here: first you say "shooting fleeing baddies is wrong, even in texas"; then you say shooting fleeing baddies **when they're running from you as a tactical move to flank you or backtrack and regain the upper hand so they can resume the gunfight** is canny, first-class, a-ok self-defense. and one can tell the difference.....how, exactly?

    so while it's a pity that england has outlawed self-defense (and weapons) entirely, (and seen their crime rates unexplainedly skyrocket as a result)(it's a mystery, really: 10 times more "hot" burglaries in england than here in the states. the bobbies are scratching their 'eads over that one, they are.); we descendants of the minutemen here in america are free to take whatever steps we deem necessary to defend ourselves **so long as we read the bad guy's mind** to see if he's running for tactical advantage, or just simply running away like king arthur did in the 'beast of caerbannog' debacle.

    interesting. amazingly enough, this load of fragrant steaming balderdash *does* seem to be the government's rationale in pain-doc prosecutions, near as i can tell: "we the prosecutors FEEL like Dr. X is prescribing too many pain pills, therefore he must be a quack and/or a dealer."

    there are 2 kinds of people in this world, markm: the kind who think everything about the tony martin case (and now the paul clarke case) is a grotesque, nightmarish travesty; and the kind who think "he had it coming for not following state-approved 'home-invasion victim' procedures." i think you've made it clear which camp you're in. my only question is why you bothered to attack england for "britons no longer having a meaningful right to self-defense" just one paragraph after you condemned tony martin for....acting in self-defense. even after you *admitted* that a bad guy who's apparently 'running away' doesn't necessarily mean the fight's over, and there's no way to tell for sure just by looking.