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Successful Appeal Against Firearms Conviction

HMA v Sean Barclay 2019

Mr Barclay, who was pled guilty to theft and possessing a prohibited firearm, has successfully appealed against his sentence. The appeal court ruled that in relation to the theft charge of stealing fake rifles from an army base, that the sentence was excessive when taken cumulatively with the other charge of possessing a Firearm. It was heard by the court that Mr Barclay had an issue with drug addiction and had planned to steal these items to sell them on. It was confirmed that he had no similar offences and the appellant argued that as a result his sentence was excessive. The appellant stated that both charges were part of the same act so a lesser overall sentence should have been imposed.

It was also argued by the appellant that he was not aware that the firearm fell under that category and described them to the police during interview as training props, therefore this should have been taken into account by the judge when sentencing. In respect of the second charge the appellant’s sentence was reduced by the appeal court while the mandatory sentence for the first charge of 5 years for the Firearms Act charge remained. Lord Turnbull stated that the Court was “satisfied that there is some force in the submissions which were presented in support of this ground of appeal and we shall give effect to it.” That was that the sentence when taking together with the sentence for the other charge was in fact excessive. Therefore the Appeal court imposed a 24 month sentence for the theft charge to run alongside the 5 years sentence for the Firearms charge.

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