Suspended prison sentence for man with illegal gun
A civil engineer, who lives on a Mersham farm called Sioux, has avoided a five-year prison sentence for illegally owning a gun.
Rhys Parry, 40, legally held a number of shotguns and firearms which he used to kill rats and shoot at targets.
But when the police were called out after a bust-up with his partner, Nicola Smith, he told them he had hidden two air pistols nearby. When officers examined one of them – a .22 Brocock ME38 magnum – they told him it had been illegal to own one for nine years without a licence.
Parry faced a minimum of five years inside prison, but a judge at Canterbury Crown Court allowed him to keep his freedom saying there were “special circumstances”.
Prosecutor Jim Harvey said in July last year officers went to Parry’s home following a “domestic argument” and asked if he had any weapons.
Parry, who admitted the fire- arms offence, said he had stashed two air pistols behind a diesel tank. The court heard that one of the weapons could be owned without a licence but the second had a self-contained gas canister which was outlawed in 2004.
Peter Heath-Glenser, defending, said Parry had “unwittingly” committed an offence.
He bought two weapons, “one legal and one illegal”, but the change in legislation did not get much publicity and he has since “surrendered” his licences.
Judge Adele Williams, who heard that Parry spent a number of years at farms in Australia and was unaware of the change in the law, told Parry that “it was a great shame” he hadn’t sought advice from a police officer about the legality of the magnum – as he had done on transporting the shotguns in and out of the county.
The judge suspended the 12-month jail sentence for two years, but ordered Parry to do 100 hours of unpaid work for the community and pay £350 court costs.
Terry Lee Clark, former landlord of The Fox pub (aka The Windmill)