Jury retires to consider verdict against Wisbech councillor accused of possessing active Second World War gun

16:21 18 July 2014

Cllr Jonathan Farmer

Cllr Jonathan Farmer

Archant

The jury has been sent out in the case of a Wisbech councillor who kept a Second World War gun at his home for 25 years which he thought was deactivated.

The Walther PPK hand gun dating from 1941, which was discovered during a police search of Jonathan Farmer’'s home on January 10  this year.The Walther PPK hand gun dating from 1941, which was discovered during a police search of Jonathan Farmer’'s home on January 10 this year.

Jonathan Farmer, 56, of South Brink, Wisbech, faces one charge of possession of a firearm under the 1968 Firearms Act, which he denies.

The gun, a Walther PPK hand gun dating from 1941, with a barrel less than 12in in length, was discovered during a police search of Farmer’s home on January 10 this year.

The jury at Cambridge Crown Court retired this afternoon and was asked by Judge Gareth Hawkesworth to rule on whether the handgun is a weapon or an antique.

Michael Proctor, prosecuting, in his closing statement to the jury, said: “This gun fulfilled the category of being a prohibitively lethal weapon which can discharge bullets and injure or kill.

“It is not antique or obsolete.

“Farmer has more than a passing interest in guns and has handled similar guns in his years in the Territorial Army. He held it in the knowledge it is a fully-functioning and dangerous weapon.”

Stephen Harvey, defending, in his closing statement, said Farmer “unquestionably has a genuine interest in military history and it was not very difficult to conclude the gun is in fact a curiosity”.

He said forensic scientist Mark Mastaglio, who gave evidence yesterday, confirmed it was a significant piece of history.

Mr Harvey highlighted Farmer’s good character, describing him as someone who has given a lot of public service.

He added: “The gun, which has never been fired, was given to him by a friend who told him it had been deactivated. He didn’t question it.

“As to his failure to surrender the gun, if he was of the state of mind the gun was not an illegal firearm would had it have even passed his mind it was something he should do?

“The law is not here to criminalise people who have antique weapons in circumstances like these.”

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