Friday, November 13, 2009

When turning in a gun can get you jail time

The animus against gun possession in England is so strong that a man who found a gun in his backyard and delivered it to the police is now facing a jail term.
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.
Apparently, his crime is bringing it to the police himself and not calling the police to come pick it up themselves. And for this the guy faces a minimum of five years in jail. This in a country that has been letting criminals out of jail because of overcrowding. That problem has gotten to be so bad that the British Ministry of Justice estimates that criminals let out of English prisons commit an average of a murder and a rape every week.
In the two years to April this year, offenders serving community sentences and suspended sentences were convicted of a total of 121 murders and 103 rapes.

The Figures from the Ministry of Justice put new pressure on ministers over their drive to keep offenders out of jail because of prison overcrowding.

Community sentences are supposed to be passed on to criminals who have committed only relatively minor offences and who do not pose a danger to the public.

There were a total of 1,004 serious crimes committed by offenders being supervised by the Probation Service between 2006 and 2008.

The offences included 22 attempted murders, 44 acts of manslaughter and 682 other serious violent or sexual offences.

Another 374 alleged offences committed by criminals on community sentences have yet to come to trial.

The number of offenders being spared jail and given community-based sentences instead is rising. Some 162,650 offenders started supervised community sentences in 2007, a 5 per cent rise from 2006.

The number of offenders supervised by the Probation Service was 242,720 at 31 December 2007, up 3 per cent on the previous year.

Earlier this week it was revealed that prisoners set free early to cut jail numbers have been accused of three murders.
We'll see if there is discretion in sentencing for Paul Clarke.