Stun gun sentence upheld by court
AN AIRLINE passenger who brought a stun gun back from holiday in Thailand, as a “practical joke” gift for a friend, has challenged the severity of his two-year sentence.
Anthony Graham Binfield, of Elderfield Road, Stoke Poges, was jailed at Isleworth Crown Court in January after he admitted possessing a disguised firearm and an offensive weapon.
The 41-year-old was prosecuted after travelling back through Heathrow Airport in December last year, Lady Justice Sharp told London’s Appeal Court on Tuesday, May 19. Binfield, who was flying home from Thailand, was stopped as he strolled through the ‘nothing-to-declare’ zone, the court heard.
When searched, his bags were found to contain a knuckle duster and a stun gun disguised as an iPhone.
Binfield said he bought the knuckle duster for a “relative who collected such things” and he acquired the stun gun intending to play a “practical joke on a friend”.
Lady Justice Sharp, who was sitting with Mr Justice Hickinbottom and Judge Eleri Rees, said: “He had no idea such items were illegal. He had no intention of causing any harm.”
But the judge said the firearms offence carried an automatic five-year minimum sentence, save in “exceptional circumstances.”
Binfield had already been given a generous discount to allow for his lack of criminal intent, she added.
Benfield asked the court to free him, claiming his sentence should have been suspended.
But Lady Justice Sharp pointed out that Binfield would have “passed on” the stun gun – even though he had no sinister motives.
“We do not consider the sentence to be manifestly excessive,” she concluded, refusing permission to appeal.