The first good news for many months. We have been signing petitions and trying our damndest to get this result, and I for one am just having a quick glass of sherry to celebrate. God bless all here! This man should never have been charged in the first place.
I see that one Judge got it wrong and then three Judges got it right.
I would not dispute the appeal judges decision but the soldier was a silly boy, he should have known better. He should have got one of the armourers to make the pistol safe by deactivating it and got rid of the ammunition.
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!
The soldier wasn't a silly boy. He was in a coma when the alleged offence happened. It is equivalent to the post WW1 period when innocent men were shot for being cowards. The judge whoever he was was way off line and personally I think he (the judge) should be put on trial for stupidity. Mind you I think most judges are silly boys with big opinions of themselves.
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.
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.
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.
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?.
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.
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.
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