No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Man Convicted After Turning in a Discarded Shotgun to Police

SurreypolicePaul Clarke, 27, a veteran, thought that he was doing the right thing when he found a shotgun in his garden. He took the shotgun to the police station and was immediately arrested for possession of a firearm without permit and criminally charged — an offense that brings five years imprisonment. Prosecutor Brian Stalk insisted that this is a strict liability offense and his intent to help police does not matter — he is a menace to society as defined under the criminal code.

If there was a case for “jury nullification,” this was it. However, the jury took only 20 minutes to find Clarke guilty.

Clarke insisted “I thought it was my duty to hand it in and get it off the streets.” Well now he knows better.

His defense attorney tried to show that a leaflet distributed by the Surrey Police asked citizens to “report[] found firearms.”

PublicenemyposterHe also showed jurors a leaflet printed by Surrey Police explaining to citizens what they can do at a police station, which included “reporting found firearms”. Notably, the arresting officer admitted that he was not even aware of the public leaflet.

However, 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.”

Paul Clarke will be sentenced on December 11th. He will be hopefully removed from the streets, so that felons can rest assured that, when they leave loaded weapons in backyards, people will respect their proprietary interests. The only question is whether the police shouldn’t return the shotgun to where it was left. Otherwise, there is a gang banger who will continue a panicked search for his missing weapon.

In the end, the only response to the Court and the Prosecutor can be found in the English classic Oliver Twist when Mr. Bumble stated ” If the law supposes that, then the law is a ass, a idiot!”

For the full story, click here.

36 thoughts on “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Man Convicted After Turning in a Discarded Shotgun to Police”

  1. I hope he gets the maximum five years. This is law as law is meant to be. Over every court room in the world should be the motto:-

    “Justice is Injustice, Injustice is Justice.”

  2. CCD,

    I as you are aware rely not solely on American History to make a decision. What is really nice is that almost everything is on the internet. There is so much to learn and so little time left. I have said before, if they had had this stuff when I was in college I would have never finished. I would probably be holed up in my house somewhere reading. As you can see this publication is repeat with hyperlinks.

    With wordpress it keeps you in the same browser on the open browser. I have actually crashed computers because I open windows within windows. Walls without Limits. This is good stuff. Just like today, I am learning something new everyday. Thank you for you humor too.

    A buddy of mine brought me his new computer to see. It was a new lenovo laptop which was pretty cool. Lot of memory in all aspects.

  3. CCD,

    Any self respecting Texan would be honored to have that link. Now I just wonder what Government watch list I am on for opening it up? When I was in HIgh School during the wee early 70’s we had to read this crap book called 1984. Were they really off by that much?

  4. AY:
    I did read the Spartacus educational selection up to the night of the long knives. The U.S. has diversity and the constitution going for us. AY, you ring the bell of truth as hard as anybody here. We survived Geo II, we’ll get through this too.

    The rifles were only meant as humor.

  5. Master AY:
    I took the liberty of getting a few quotes for you. Here are samples of available automatic Colt Military Rifles. Press the trigger and empty the magazine. Prices are probably negotiable.


    5-2219 COLT M16A2 (RO702) 5.56mm RIFLE $ 28,900.00

    7-2941 COLT M16A2/M4 MK18 TYPE 10″ NAVY TYPE 5.56mm $ 30,900.00


    Spartacus Educational

    I just came across this on the net and it concerns me greatly. although this is in relation to Adolph Hitler the similarities between the way our present system of government is being run is alarming.

    Here is a quote out of the thing and the link that follows:

    “Before the crash, (Wall Street) 1.25 million people were unemployed in Germany. By the end of 1930 the figure had reached nearly 4 million. Even those in work suffered as many were only working part-time. With the drop in demand for labour, wages also fell and those with full-time work had to survive on lower incomes. Hitler, who was considered a fool in 1928 when he predicted economic disaster, was now seen in a different light. People began to say that if he was clever enough to predict the depression maybe he also knew how to solve it.”

    The comparisons in my mind are incredibly scary. After Obama serves his 4 what kind of passionate person will we have take office and serve the US?

  7. How could this decrepit humming bein (Paul Clarke) deign to bring a thingy with two metal orifices into the halls of holiness without the blessing of Boss Hog?

    Hang the humming bein high comrades.

  8. On the plus side, he didn’t take it into the barracks and mow down his fellow soldiers, so there’s that, I guess.

  9. rcampbell,

    If this was happening in Texas you would have never heard of it. Them English folks are sissy dudes. Now I know what Arnold meant when he said “Girly Men” or was that Sissy Dudes?

    So should we be ware and warneth when the British are coming? One if by land, Two if by sea.

  10. I dare say, although I’ve never dealt with gun paperwork or attempted to register one, this would not have happened in the United States.

    If I find a discarded shotgun on my property, there’s no crime. It’s on my land. I found it. It’s mine. Nyaah. I might immediately board the nearest Amtrak train (after loading the gun first- you’d have to be an idiot to walk around with an unloaded gun!) and travel to a gun store or pawnshop within my state. There I’d ask for advice on how to get it properly registered, or sold, or whatever. I’d at least consult the Ebay help pages for some pointers on how to deal with this situation.

    In California, for example, the determining factor appears to be when you bought your house with that garden, and when the gun was originally buried there. If that gun was there in that garden the whole time, and you bought your house before 1/1/91, then you had possession of it since pre-registration days and so you are the proud owner of a legal, unregistered firearm. Otherwise you have to go to a gun dealer having a federal firearms license and get that sucker registered pronto before you can sell it or shoot it at tree trunks next to the neighbors’ yards. No need to get police involved at all, although I’m sure they wouldn’t mind pointing you toward locally licensed gun dealers within their districts to gin up local taxes.

    Now if I found weed growing in my garden, either naturally, or via trespassers, ha ha ha… better not go to the cops with that in the U.S.

  11. I’m aware of jury nullification’s evil uses, but it can be done for good too. For example, some juries refused to convict under the Fugitive Slave Act.

  12. P.S.: Jury nullification has also been used for evil, as when all-white juries in the South would acquit defendants who were obviously guilty of lynching black people.

  13. This certainly was a case for jury nullification; the problem is that lay people are not aware of its venerable tradition, and, if they are, they don’t know that it is legal. Even so, there is a larger problem, and that is that they don’t engage in it anyway. Instead, like Nazis, they follow orders and do evil. You’d think that one juror out of the twelve, if only for concern over how he could look at himself in the mirror if he voted to convict, would have said, “I am not going to be responsible for sending this man to prison.”

  14. Here the jury followed Judge Critchlow’s instructions to the letter. Were they instructed with the spirit of the law as well their decision would have been tempered with common sense.

  15. England.

    Going forward in reverse.

    Do you know the word “entrapment”? How about “equity”? “Fairness” ring a bell?

    It’s now apparent why you never conquered the people of my island, Ireland.

  16. Strict Liability for turning in a fucking gun found on your property. Wait a minute. If I plant weed in his yard and he takes it to the police he is guilty right….Well yeah unless he can show that its someone elses. Not many people still grow tails after (not) inhaling.

    The gun/rifle seems to me to come under some public safety exception to strict liability or abating a public nuisance. I agree that Jury Nullification should come into play here. With what was stated, what he is guilty of is trying to save others harm. The fool suffer the wrath of the injust.

    The English do have a strange way of enforcing its request to its citizens. I wonder if this case was farmed out to be tried by a Solicitor in private practice.

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